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New Braunfels Herald Zeitung (Newspaper) - January 14, 2011, New Braunfels, Texas Friday, January 14, 2011 — Herald-Zeitung — Page 5 DAM CONTINUED FROM Page 1 Officials feared the dam as then designed by the Florida-based CH2M Hill could be undermined by water. The county and Hiil have since parted ways and are locked in a legaf battle over the project. Freese and Nichols will now add a 700-foot-long, 100-foot deep “deep wall” beneath Hill’s basic dam design to help ensure its stability. Ehe new engineers will also generally beef-up the design of the dam, including excavating the unstable soil and replacing it with a concrete block that will serve as a foundation. Hornseth said Freese and Nichols will begin engineering immediately to prepare plans and specifications for the deep wall and the final design of the dam. To speed things up, the construction of the deep wall will begin in advance of bid-letting for the overall dam construction, Hornseth said. “We’re looking at getting that deep wall construction under way basically as soon as we can, which means probably 30 to 45 days, perhaps, to get Haywood Baker mobilizing or under construction out at the site.” The Haywood Baker geot-echnical construction company, the only company building such walls, will bring in special machinery that will not only dig the trench for the deep wall but will simultaneously mix concrete with materials excavated from beneath the dam in the trenching process to form the deep wall. It’s a proprietary, patented method, according to officials. Hornseth said another measure taken to ensure a speedy project was to approve a contract with Freese and Nichols that included their services for the entire project, rather than the traditional separate contracts for dam design and construction services. Commissioners on Thursday also: • Heard from County Tax Assessor-Collector Cathy Tai-cott, who said 30 percent of the county’s 2010 property taxes have been collected. “That means we have 70 percent to collect in the next week and a half," she said. Collections began in October. Taxes paid after Jan. 31 will have penalty and interest added. “Ya’ll pay your taxes; don’t forget,” Talcott told citizens attending. “We’ll have our express drive-through lane open at the downtown location on (Jan. 31).’’ The drive-through will be open from 7:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Jan 31 at her office at 205 N. Seguin. Penalty and interest will not be assessed on mailed-in payments postmarked Jan. 31 or earlier, Talcott said. • Met with officials from the Texas Department of Transportation to discuss priorities for road and highway projects in Comal County beginning in 2015. County Judge Sherman Krause asked TxDOT whether it had any plans to improve the often-congested traffic conditions on Loop 337 at 1-35 in southwest New Braunfels. Krause said the traffic there can be an issue with emergency responders leaving a fire station near the intersection. TxDOT’s Jonathan Bean of San Antonio said the intersection will be put on the department’s study list. “We’ll look into if there’s anything that can be done,” Bean said. • During the citizens communication portion of the meeting, heard from Dr. Martin Levett, who asked that citizens be allowed to speak at the beginning of meetings rather than the end. Levett said many citizens have to take off work to attend the meetings and shouldn’t be made to wait an hour or more to speak. “That change has already been made and you’ll see it on next week’s agenda,” said County Judge Sherman Krause. Levett also spoke in favor of expanding Farm Hoad 306 to help ensure that the proposed New Braunfels outer loop will not be needed to handle traffic. Other citizens spoke in favor of reducing light pollution from billboards, in favor of additional funding for county parks, and in favor of ensuring that county government pension funds remain solvent. • Discussed looking into the possibility of occasionally holding evening meetings to allow more citizens to attend. Meetings now begin at 8:15 a.m. each Thursday. • Approved a proposal by the Lower Colorado River Authority, in association with the Pedernales Electric Cooperative, for the development of a strategic plan for Comal County. The plan would be developed at no cost to the county, said PEC spokeswoman Tessa Doehrman. The initiative would identify a broad range of important county issues and result in a plan that would be a guideline to addressing thoseissues. • Appointed Judge Krause to the board of directors of the Alamo Area Council of Governments. • Nominated Guadalupe County Judge Mike Wiggins to the South Central Texas Regional Water Planning Group, which develops water-supply plans for the area. Wiggins would replace recently retired Comal County Commissioner Jay Millikin on the planning group. “He shares the same vision Jay had,” Commissioner Parker said. • Reappointed Darin Zumwalt, executive director of the Community Resource and Recreation Center of Canyon Lake, to the Senior Advisory Committee of the Alamo Area Council of Governments. • Appointed a slate of members to the County Parks Selection Committee and the County Parks Maintenance and Improvement Committee. FM 306 CONTINUED FROM Page 1 overpasses. Its petition says a public safety hazard is created by the significant delays caused “liy the 42 trains daily” that cross the farm road. The heavily traveled FM 306 does not safely meet the needs of the citizens and tourists who use it, said Capt. Ed Whitson of the Comal County Sheriff’s Office, who told commissioners he was speaking on hehalf of County Sheriff Bob Holder. “ Traffic out there has increased to a point where it’s unsafe,” said Whitson. Overpasses are needed at the railroad crossings on 306 near Hunter Road and Goodwin Lane in New Braunfels to allow emergency responders to move without delay, Whitson said. The petition submitted by the group included letters of support written by Holder, Canyon Lake Fire Chief Shawn Wherry, Comal ISD Assistant Superintendent Thomas Bloxham and the Pantermuehl ranching family, whose ranch entrance is on FM 306. In his letter, Holder said "tremendous growth” and population explosion” have changed 306 from the “nice, lightly traveled thoroughfare” it had been. Fire ChiefWherry, in his letter, said “a large-scale overhaul and improvement is required to meet the needs of today.” Wherry wrote that the frequent delays at railroad crossings cause problems for fire and EMS crews and have the potential for “disastrous outcomes” for patients being transported to the hospital in New Braunfels. The growing congestion has also resulted in slower traffic and an increasing number of collisions, wrote Wherry. One speaker told commissioners that during the husy summer tourist season it has taken her as long as an hour to drive the six miles from New Braunfels to the River Chase subdivision where she lives. For a city and county depending on tourism dollars, such delays are unacceptable, wrote Wherry. “Our tourism industry will be severely impacted if our visitors must sit in traffic for over an hour to reach their destination.” Comal ISD’s Bloxham wrote that the district’s school buses are required to come to a complete stop at the train tracks, which tends “to back up traffic in both directions.” County (Commissioner Jan Kennady told the coalition that she applauded their efforts and that the Texas Department of Transportation has expressed its desire to get the FM 306 improvement project done. TxDOT has a $45 million project on the books for late 2012, which calls for the expansion of 306 from Hunter Road to 1-35 from two lanes to four, as well as the addition of the two needed four-lane overpasses. Kennady and Commissioner Greg Parker on Thursday called for the project to be moved to the top of the list of TxDOT projects in Comal County. But Kennady said that request won’t necessarily move the project up on the construction calendar because of funding questions. She said the county and the C City of New Braunfels are being asked to contribute $16 million to the project, which is a sticking point at a time when state funding isn’t being made available to counties and cities. “We don’t have the money just hanging around — and we’re also trying to build a dam,” Kennady said. Representatives of the county and city have been meeting to try to work out who’ll be responsible for what portion of that $16 million shortfall. (County officials are also looking into how they could fund their portion of the project. But Kennady said if TxDOT, the county and city don’t move to do the project now, TxDOT could lose the funding that has been set aside for 306 improvements. “If we don't do it, that project probably would be put off for at least 10 years and maybe longer, simply because the money is not going to be there,” Kennady said. FM 306 Improvements Coalition President Richard Keady told commissioners he “implored” them to join with the (City of New Braunfels to resolve funding issues. “ This is one project that needs to be done,” Keady said. Group member Brenda Ford said she and a loved one have personally been delayed by trains twice while on emergency trips to the hospital. “You can only sit and wait and pray,” she said. "We appreciate the economic conditions, but there are some things that have to be taken care of and 306 is one of them.” STEELE CONTINUED FROM Page 1 with a proclamation and Jinks with a key to the city, and U.S. Congressman Henry Cuellar, wfio presented a plaque containing a statement that cited the team’s performance and is now part of the Congressional Record. Game balls, signed by team members, went to Cuellar and Dr. Byron P. Steele II, a former SCUCISD administrator who this season had the rare distinction of witnessing a school named for him capture a state championship. “These boys did something that made us proud,” said Steele, who was the parade's Grand Marshal. “One of the things I noticed was how united the schools “You young men decided there was something out there greater than the individual.“ Mike Jinks Head coach are in this district. There were lots of people in Clemens shirts cheering you on, and there were lots from the Knights cheering them on. "It's been a community that's united and has really done well. I want the students and everybody to know how proud I am of them, and how much I look forward to next season.” That theme — of community togetherness, community bond — was echoed time and again throughout the 45-minute ceremony, it stands as a hallmark of a great season, one that slowly began with a 1-2 start, but ended with 13 consecutive victories and a state title. Steele became only the second school to move from the Class 4A ranks and win a Class 5A championship. The first was Southlake Carroll, which bested Smithson Valley for the 5A-II title in 2004. "AH of us have different backgrounds and different beliefs,” Jinks said. “And at sofne point this season, this group of young men decided to believe in one another. “And that united this place — it's been awesome in this community for the last month. “You young men decided there was something out there greater than the individual. And if you remember that for the rest of your lives, the world is yours.” GUN CONTINUED FROM Page 1 in the schools. If somebody brings an Airsoft gun to school, most likely he will be expelled and the police will be called,” he said. A parent himself, Olddag teaches a concealed handgun class. He said he’d be very concerned if a student brought an Airsoft weapon to class. The hard 6mm plastic pellets used as Airsoft ammunition are dangerous, he said. “You could put somebody’s eye out pretty quickly. It’s not a toy,” he said. There is a whole niche of gun competition for Airsoft aficionadoes. The authentic-looking weapons are particularly popular in Japan, where gun use is strictly controlled. An a Events In Gruene Oma Gruene s Secret Garten: Every Wednesday: Burgers & Blues $2.00 Lonestar Beer $2.00 Burgers Every Thursday: Jam Night January 14th: Zac Barfield 6-10pm January 15th: Billy Snipes 1-5pm January 16th: Ken Raber 2-6pm Mash Potato Johnson 6-10pm January 21st: Lawrence Olivier Oldvit Denvv IM Saturday Night MAX STALLING Saturday. January 22nd MEL TILLIS Saturday. January 2c)th RODNEY CROWELL: CHINABERRY SIDEWALKS TOUR Saturday. February 5th RAUL MALO Friday. February 18th BOZSCAGGS The Village at Gruene PENTHOUSE CONDO • Huge Waterfront Condo • 4 Master Bedrooms w/ Baths • Pool Table • Outdoor wetbar w/ TV •Sleeps 18 830.626.8886    3 Mention this ad when booking for free coffee from Gruene Coffee Haus Hnuene'8 Secftec Beer, Wine, Food, Live Music 1263 Gruene Road New Braunfels, TX 78130 | (512) 743-6810 (Next to the Gruene Mansion Inn) 23Mk the It’S A tMWthSTie CLEARANCE SALE at Pookie Jane’s “In Beatiful Gruene” 1633 Hunter Road # F • New Braunfels. TX. 78130 830-626-6446 • UJWLU.DOokieinn** mm [email protected] GARDEN APARTMENTS AT GRUENE WL, 1 or 2 Car Attached Garage with Automatic Garage Door Opener, In all 2 & 3 Bedroom Apartments. Single-Story Garden Apartments Si/t«ri >»<’>•1    W/D Connections (j! Relaxing Pool & Spa! (830) 643-1000 • 2293 East Common Street • www.augustaatgrupne.c See Your Ad HERE! Call or Email Jamie Gregg at (830) 625-9144 x. 210 • [email protected] ;