New Braunfels Herald Zeitung (Newspaper) - January 13, 2011, New Braunfels, Texas
■ SPORTS. 6New red turf at Cougar Stadium debuts today during Comal Cup soccer action
■ LOCAL NEWS, 2November sales tax returns jump 10% for New Braunfels
THURSDAY, JANUARY 13, 2011
Texas y|p Newspaper of the Year
Serving New Braunfels and Comal County since 1852.
500► CEMEX RESCUE
NBFD saves worker trapped in outdoor elevator
By J. Louise Larson
Officials give advice in wake of teen’s threat
By J. Louise Larson
A concerned parent walked into the New Braunfels Police Department on lliesday, worried about his teen son’s hostile threats.
“An individual came in and claimed that his son, who had just been suspended from a middle school, apparently got into an argument (with him) and the son indicated that at his first opportunity, he was going to steal a
vehicle and get a gun and go and shoot people,” said Lt. Michael Penshorn of the New Braunfels Police Department.
“The parent did not think the child was serious, hut wanted it documented.
“Being that the parent did not think that the child was serious, although it is a potentially serious threat, in this situation we just stay in touch with the parent and see if anything changes,” Penshorn said.
It’s the kind of situation where a par
ent might seriously second-guess their own parenting instincts.
After a troubled young man opened fire in Arizona, killing six and wounding a state representative last week, the guardians of Comal County youths’ futures are grappling with a huge question.
Do you alert authorities? Do you try to weather it out and hope it’s some kind of a teen phase?
See YOUTH, Page 12► ARIZ. SHOOTING
Obama: Polarized nation must heal
Rep. Giffords opens eyes for first time
By Ben Feller
and Julie Pace
TUCSON, Ariz. (AP) — Summoning the soul of a nation, President Barack Obama on Wednesday implored Americans to honor those slain and injured in the Arizona shootings by becoming better people, telling a polarized citi- Giffords zenry that it is time to talk with each other "in a way that heals, not in a way that wounds." Following a hospital bedside visit with Rep. Obama Gabrielle Giffords, the target of the assassination, he said: "She knows we're here, and she knows we love her."
In an electrifying moment, the president revealed that Giffords, who on Saturday was shot point-blank in the head, had opened her eyes for the first time shortly after his hospital visit. First lady Michelle Obama held hands with Gif-
See OBAMA, Page 5
Waste Management taps into methane from landfill to power 1,500 homes
By J. Louise Larson
Fifteen hundred New Braunfels residents now get their power from decomposing garbage, thanks to an innovative new facility that turns methane gas generated at the Mesquite Creek Landfill into electricity.
City officials helped cut the ribbon Thursday on the landfill gas-to-energy facility developed by Waste Management. The Houston-based company produces more than three megawatts of electricity there every day, and NBU buys the exported power to serve 1,500 of the utility’s New Braunfels customers.
“Enough methane gas is being generated that we can put it to good use, and what would otherwise have been flared off is turned into electricity,” said Greg Baumbach, exec-
See POWER, Page 12
In addition to the landfill gas renewable generation, NBU also receives all of the output of the Canyon Hydro generation, and about 6 percent of the generation purchased by NBU from its wholesale provider LCRA comes from hydro and wind generation.
NBU does not currently have a program for customers to contribute for renewable generation separate from other types of generation.
Burned clothes remain in a pile outside of a mobile home that caught fire Tuesday night in the 1100 block of Winston Avenue.
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New Braunfels fire crews braved the cold Tuesday night in a daring high-angle rescue.
A worker was trapped 240 feet above ground in a malfunctioning outdoor elevator at the Cemex plant in the 2500 block of Wald Road. The call came in around 11:40 p.m., said Fire Marshal Patrick O’Connell.
“Our rescue crew set up a rope rescue system and one person rappelled down to the elevator,” O’Connell said.
The crew determined the best way to retrieve the victim was to take him back to the roof. He was placed in a safety harness and a secondary safety line provided back-up for him and for New Braunfels Fire Department crew member Mitchell Hal-bardier, who is trained in rope rescue.
“We set up a ‘mechanical advantage’ rope system using pulleys, much like a block-and-tackle, and hoisted the victim back up to the rooftop,” O’Connell said.
From there, the rescued worker was able to walk down the stairs unassisted, he said.
“What made it complicated was that it occurred at 11:39 at night and it was extremely cold,” O’Connell said.
“It’s one of those high-risk, low-frequency events,” he said, noting that an incorrect knot or a faulty mechanism can send a high-angle rope rescue south fast.
Five units and 14 personnel responded to the emergency, O’Connell said.
“They did good work,” he said.
Plant manager Jimmy Rabon said there was a backup mechanism in the elevator that could have been used to bring it down safely.
“Due to the cold weather conditions and our desire to ensure the Cemex employee's
See CEMEX, Page 5
TOP: While wearing protective eye glasses and ear plugs, a visitor checks out the engine room at the Mesquite Creek Gas Plant following the ribbon cutting at the facility.
BOTTOM: Dave Unger, Director of Renewable Energy for Waste Management, describes how the Mesquite Creek Gas Plant operates while giving a tour of the facility to visitors.
One critical after mobile home blaze
Man, 57, found unconscious on bedroom floor
By J. Louise Larson
A space heater is being blamed for a fire that left a 57-year-old New Braunfels man in critical condition after fire destroyed his residence.
Crews from the New Braunfels Fire Department arrived at 1183 Winston to find it ablaze after a 7 p.m. call Tuesday.
“(We found) heavy smoke and fire coming from the front door and windows of a
mobile home. Crews initiated an aggressive interior attack and had the fire under control in eight minutes,” said Fire Marshal Patrick O’Connell.
See FIRE, Page 12
Vol. 158, No. 54 12 pages, 1 section