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New Braunfels Herald Zeitung (Newspaper) - January 13, 1999, New Braunfels, Texas nnoTO I'l G 0 9 1.0 / 2 2 / 9 9 SO-UEST MICROPUBLISHING 2627 E YANDELL DR EL POSO, TX 79903 7 8Herald-Zeitung Vol. 148, No. 3918 pages in 2 sections January 13, 1999    DNESDAY    SCrV'n8    C°mal    C°UIUy    S'nCC    1852 50 centsTexas Legislature back in business; Bush gets a big ovation AUSTIN (AP) — The Texas Legislature convened Tuesday with money in the bank, a $90 billion-plus budget in the works and, according to the retiring lieutenant governor, “the future president of the United States” in the governor’s office. Those words were used by Democratic Lt. Gov. Bob Bullock to introduce Gov. George W. Bush to the state Senate, an appearance that sparked a rousing ovation from lawmakers and spectators. The Republican governor, who said he remains undecided about entering next year’s White House race, moved quickly to decline the honor. “I really came not to be nominated for another office, but to see if the old lieutenant governor could still swing the gavel,” Bush said. “What a great man.” Bullock, 69, and Bush, 52, have been fast friends since the governor first took office in 1995. Bullock is retiring after next week’s inauguration of Lt. Gov.-elect Rick Perry, wrapping up a public career that began with his BUSH election to the Texas House 42 years ago. He was an assistant attorney general, governor’s aide, secretary of state and four-term comptroller. Perry, the first Republican ever elected to the state’s No. 2 post, sat on the Senate podium behind Bullock during the opening ceremonies. In the House, Rep. Pete Laney, D-Hale Center, was unanimously elected to a fourth term as that chamber’s speaker. Laney, a cotton farmer who espouses bipartisanship and has appointed numerous Republicans as chairmen of powerful committees, becomes the highest-ranking "It’s quite a problem getting down there with the traffic as bad as it is.” U.S. Navy veteran Earl Sessums CHRIS CREWS/Herald-Zeitung Earl Sessums, a Navy veteran who served in both World War ll and Korea, shows the wheelchair he takes with him on hospital visits. Sessums and other area vets recently lost their van when it was involved in an accident. Transportation trauma Area veterans looking for help after accident totals medical van Bv Chris Crews Staff Writer Earl Sessums is the kind of guy that is accustomed to helping others. Sessums served his country in the Pacific and Atlantic theaters during World War ll. He later returned to the United States Navy to serve in Korea. And now he and other veterans like him need help to get to their medical appointments in San Antonio after an accident nearly totaled the van used to make those trips. When Sessums moved to New Braunfels in 1980, he volunteered to be an escort at Audie Murphy Veteran’s Hospital in San Antonio. He would drive into the city several days a week and take veterans confined to wheelchairs to their appointments and make pharmacy runs for patients in need of assistance. But Earl is 80 now and admittedly doesn’t see or hear as well as he once did. Like many New Braunfels residents, he doesn’t care much for the traffic on Interstate 35 and Loop 410. So he drives to the store and his appointments in town but avoids driving to San Antonio. “It’s quite a problem getting down there with the traffic as bad as it is,” Sessums said. “I’ve had three heart attacks and I had to quit altogether.” So when the Comal County Veterans Council began operating a van last March to carry veterans to their appointments at San Antonio’s military hospitals, it was a blessing for Sessums and other veterans unable or unwilling to face the snarl of urban traffic. Gus Culwell, the veteran’s service officer for Comal County who helps coordinate the program, said since the program began in March 1998, more than 200 veterans were able to keep appointments at Audie Murphy, Brooke Army Medical Center and Wilford Hall Medical Center. Some of the program’s participants narrowly avoided a tragedy last Thursday when the van used to transport veterans was involved in an accident on Loop 410. Sessums, the driver and two other patients were not injured in the accident. But the prognosis for the van and possibly the program is not as bright. The 1986 Dodge van was damaged, See TRAUMATA Democrat in Texas government. Bs projecting additional revenue of $5.6 billion, as well as $1.1 billion from tobacco companies that comes from settlement of the state’s lawsuit against the industry. The Legislature’s top two budget writers, Sen. Bill Ratliff, R-Mount Pleasant, and Rep. Rob Junell, D-San Angelo, planned to unveil a preliminary spending plan on Wednesday. The current two-year budget totals $87.1 billion. With added revenues, unspent funds and the tobacco payments, Comptroller Carole Keeton Rylander has projected that lawmakers will have up to $98 billion for the 2000-2001 budged years. Some lawmakers suggested there could be some tough fights over the extra money, and several counseled caution. “I can imagine that the only thing worse that a tax (increase) bill would be a budget surplus,” said Rep. Kip Averin, R-Waco, as he praised the House speaker’s skills at forging compromises. Recalling earlier budget deficits, Laney said, “The worst mistake we could make is to view this budget surplus simply as a pie, a pie to be divided up and parceled out among many competing interests.” County constable under investigation for alleged assault Mullins savs he is J unaware of probe, did nothing wrong By Chris Crews Staff Writer A Comal County constable remained under investigation Tuesday related to an assault that allegedly took place at a residence near Canyon Lake this past Friday night. Comal County Sheriff’s Office detectives confirmed that Precinct #4 Constable Ed Mullins was under investigation for an alleged assault. They said that they could not comment further on an ongoing investigation. CCSO dispatch received a 911 call at 9; 10 p.m. Friday from a woman claiming someone had assaulted her daughter. Two deputies arrived a residence in the I IOO block of Eastview Drive within IO minutes of the call. The 38-year-old Canyon Lake woman who made the call confirmed that Mullins was involved and that the alleged victim was her 12-year-old daughter. She said her daughter did not sustain injuries from the incident. She said her daughter was babysitting at a friend’s house when Mullins arrived and attempted to enter the residence. The deputy who wrote the incident report was at the residence for more than three hours. Mullins said he was unaware of the MULLINS investigation and that he had not done anything improper. “I’ve been up here for over 20 years in law enforcement and I know what the law says I can and can not do,” Mullins said. “I don’t ever touch anyone unless I have to.” Mullins has been a constable since 1993 and said he had worked as a sheriff’s deputy for 13 years prior to that. Mullins said he was acting in an official capacity when he arrived at the home. He said he was attempting to locate an unidentified person his son had been looking for. Capt. Dennis Koepp said his office would wrap up the preliminary investigation and forward the information to the criminal district attorney’s office by noon today. Criminal District Attorney Dib Waldrip said he would review the case to see if it had merit. He said if he determined that a further investigation was warranted, he would go through the Department of Public Safety and request that the Texas Rangers investigate the case. It is customary to bring in an outside agency to perform an investigation when a conflict of interest is possible. Waldrip said he would make a decision on the disposition of the case “pretty quick.” EAA approves seeding contract By Chris Crews Staff Writer The Edwards Aquifer Authority on Tuesday approved a contract that would allow for cloud seeding over the aquifer from mid-April to mid-September. The cost of the $500,000 contract with Water Management Inc. will be split evenly between the EAA and the Texas Water Development Board. “This deal will double the money for the ratepayers of the EAA,” said Doug Miller of New Braunfels, an EAA board member. Miller said the board had been working on the project for more than six months and there was some relief that a contract had been signed Miller said that most of the seeding will take place over the western counties of Bexar, Medina, and Uvalde counties so that the entire aquifer would receive the maximum benefit possible. He said 70 percent of the aquifer’s recharge occurred in Uvalde County. The aquifer generally flows from west to east. Speaker shares helpful hints with OakRun students, parents By Heather Todd Staff Writer Jim Kern asked a room full of OakRun honor roll students a question every parent in the room knew the answer to. “How many of you have broken something in your home?” About 30 sixth-grade arms shot into the air. Kern, a Smithson Valley resident and nationally known motivational speaker, used the simple question as an example of the relationship between parents and children during a speaking engagement at OakRun School cafeteria on Tuesday night. Kern then asked a question most parents could also answer. “When your parents found out about what you broke, did they say it was OK because it was just a ’thing’?” Kern asked. A chorus of voices resounded with “No!” See SPEAKEFV5A OakRun honor student Katie Heefner (left) and her father, Dave, participate in the staring contest during a speaking engagement Tuesday at the school. Students and parents listed to Jim Kern, a Smithson Valley resident, who spoke on the relationships between parents and children. HEATHER TOON Herald-Zeitung Inside Abby.......................... .....7 A Business...................... ......5A Classifieds................... . 5-8B Comics........................ ......8A Crossword................... ......7A Forum.......................... 4A Local............................ ......2A Obits............................ ......3A Sports........................... 9-10A Today.......................... ......2A Television.................... BA ;