New Braunfels Herald Zeitung (Newspaper) - January 15, 2003, New Braunfels, Texas
WEDNESDAY January 15, 2003
12 pages in 2 sections
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Vol. 152, No. 54
Serving New Braunfels and Comal County since 1852
Attention Kmart shoppers — local store to close
By Ron Maloney Staff Writer
The next blue light special at the New Braunfels Big Kmart store will not be found in any particular aisle or department.
It will be the store itself.
Kmart officials in Troy, Mich., announced Tuesday that 326 stores — 54 of them in Texas — would close as part of the beleaguered chain’s effort to reorganize under Chapter ll of the Federal Bankruptcy Code.
The move, which comes a year after the chain closed nearly 300 stores and cut 22,000 jobs, would leave more than 1,500 stores open in the United States, the Caribbean and Guam.
None will be in Alaska, and only
19 will be in Texas.
The closures, which will begin with clearance sales once they are approved by a bankruptcy judge later this month, affect 37,000 employees nationwide and are expected to be completed by April.
Kmart spokesperson Michelle Jasukaitis at the chains headquarters said the move is intended to improve cashflow, drop unprofitable stores or stores with prohibitively expensive leases — and get the leaner, one-thirdSee KMART/3A
eelFish in new waters
New Braunfels’ own freshman legislator Casteel dives right in
By Sean Bowlin
AUSTIN — Maybe it was like the first day at kindergarten.
Or maybe it was like being a freshman on the first day of school at a big-league college after being all-everything in high school.
Whatever it was, Tuesday morning at the capitol building ushered in Rep. Carter Casteel’s first day in office on the opening day of the 78th Texas Legislature.
Casteel arrived in her basement office in the Capitol building at 9:20 a.m.
“Well, I hadn’t been here,” she said as she walked in her three-quarters decorated offices. “Let’s see what it looks Uke.”
Casteel walked through the visitors’ lobby into her office. The desk was set up — pens, coasters and calendars. A credenza was in the back of it to the left, with a computer. Some family pictures adorned the wall to the left of the computer. The wall behind it was bare.
“Let’s put a few things around,” Casteel said.
She put pictures of her parents and grandchildren on the credenza. “I’m trying to bring a little stuff from New Braunfels — gotta figure out where it all goes.”
Her granddaughters, Morrigan and Catherine, helped her decorate.
Casteel looked at plaques, pictures, certificates and campaign mementos aides Sherry Clarkson and Elizabeth 'Weisman had put up.
“Gosh, it looks gorgeous,” Casteel said to Clarkson.
Then Casteel pulled out of a desk drawer a ping-pong, lotto-type ball with a number 14 on it.
“I drew number 14,” Casteel said. ‘There are 36 of us [freshman representatives]. The smaller the number, that determines your order to pick your seat on the floor, your parking place and your office. And it can determine seniority for committees.”
Then she tried out her brown leather chair. It had a Texas seal on it. It was made by state prisoners, as was all of her furniture.
That’s my first time getting in this seat. It feels good. Maybe it’s a little high.”
Casteel leaned back.
. Photos by K. JESSIE SLATENAIerald-Zertung
(RIGHT) Already turning the state on its heels, Carter Casteel, R-New Braunfels, enlists her husband Tommy to adjust her new office chair Tuesday afternoon before the 78th Texas Legislature opens. (ABOVE) Casteel’s first official business visitors, Shaun Seale (seated, back) and Sabel Gallahan (seated, front), with the Texas General Land Office, wait for her to finish a phone call while Casteel’s granddaughters entertain themselves. (TOP) Casteel shares a moment of history with granddaughter Morrigan Land as she points out various objects of Texas history in the House.
(TOP LEFT) In a draw for seniority and rank among the 36 freshmen representatives, Casteel drew 14.
By The Numbers
By The Associated Press
■ The numbers behind the 78th Legislature:
$114 billion — Current budget 181 — Combined number of members of the Texas House and Senate 150 — Members of the Texas House of Representatives 140 — Days in the regular legislative session 130 — Years since the last time Republicans controlled of the Texas House 35 — Freshmen House members 31 — Senate members 8 — Republicans in the House in 1969, when Speaker Tom Craddick was first elected 5,544 — Bills filed in the 2001 legislative session 1,518 —Bills enacted into law from the 2001 session
19 — Republicans 12 — Democrats 27 — Men 4 — Women 26,168 — Number of consecutive votes Sen. Judith Zaffirini, D-Laredo, has cast during her legislative career
88 — Republicans 62 — Democrats 119 —Men 31 — Women 1 —Asian-American, Martha Wong, R-Houston, the first Asian-American woman elected to the Texas House.
Widow of accident victim: Couple separated Inside
By Ron Maloney Staff Writer
Precinct 4 Justice of the Peace Jennifer Saunders has ruled Saturday’s death of a 29-year-old San Marcos man an accident.
Rescue workers said they believed Drake Andre Luera died instantly when his southbound 2000 Chevrolet pickup slammed into a York Creek Road overpass pillar at high speed just before ll a.m. The truck then burst into flames.
The incident occurred on the east side Interstate 35 frontage road.
Department of Public Safety Trooper Randy Wells reported there were no skid
marks or signs of an attempt to stop.
The truck was destroyed in the impact and resulting fire.
Detonating ammunition in the cab of the truck hampered rescue attempts.
Firefighters from New Braunfels and South Hays County fought the blaze.
“We may never know what happened for sure,” Wells said Monday. “We’re calling this an accident.”
At the scene Saturday, members of Luera’s family reported to rescue and law enforcement officials that he was despondent over his marital situation — and that he might have killed himself.
Some workers reported at the scene that he was in despair over a divorce.
Luera was not divorced, although he and his wife, Dana, were temporarily separated, she said Tuesday, and she was staying with her parents.
They had hoped to work their problems out, she said.
“He and I were not divorced. It was our first separation,” she said. “Every marriage has its problems.”
She noted that she was staying in the York Creek Road area, not far from the accident scene.
“Maybe he was on his way to talk to me. I don’t know.”
Key Ccxle 76
Front to bring coldest temps of season so far
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By Ron Maloney
The Arctic Express is arriving from Canada late Thursday night, and it’ll be bringing brutally cold ail* to South Texas.
“Wednesday will be beautiful, but Thursday night I think we’re going to start seeing some of the coldest weather we’ve seen this winter,” National Weather Service Meteorologist Joe Baskin said.
Look for lows Thursday and Friday nights in the low to mid 20s, Baskin said.
“Luckily, we don’t see any kind of precipitation with it.
We’re going to warm up Friday into the low 50s, we’ll get down below freezing again Friday night. Saturday, we’ll reach the upper 50s and be below freezing again Saturday night,” Baskin said.
Baskin advised people to take care of the “four Ps" — people, pets, plants and pipes — in the coming cold nights.
“Thursday night, when the wind turns north, we’ll see wind chills in the teens. People who work outside need to be prepared. Friday morning, those kids at the bus stops really need to be wrapped up,” Baskin said.
“Its a good time for those electric socks to come out.”