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New Braunfels Herald Zeitung (Newspaper) - January 19, 2000, New Braunfels, Texas J* MOO9 lo./ New - iijfz S T M 7 C RO Pi • p/'» 2627 e Yrm^Z' FELS EL F,,S0. TX ,rr •    7    9    9    0    3    - /GO SHIMO 6 0Herald-Zeitung L : Vol. 149 No. 44    16    pgs.    in    2    sections    January    19,    2000 Serving Comal County since 1852 50 cents Panel wants to leave lights on Committee says River of Lights should continue By Peri Stone-Palmquist Staff Writer New Braunfels should continue to sponsor the Holiday River of Lights but fund it with less bed tax revenue, the city’s Lighted Display Park Advisory Committee agreed Tuesday. Although the project has not met revenue or admission expectations, it has proven to be a valuable and treasured community event during Festage, New Braunfels’ seven-week holiday celebration, committee members said. The committee, appointed by New Braunfels City Council, will present its recommendation to council on Monday as it ponders the future of the 52-day holiday light display. The three-year contract for the lights expires this year — and the Greater New Braunfels Chamber of Commerce, Inc. already has plans for how money now spent on the display could be used toward a convention center. For the past three years, the city funded the light display with more than $600,000 of hotel/motel tax revenue — a dedicated tax intended to promote tourism. The chamber, local arts and heritage organizations and the New Braunfels Civic Center also get funding from the city’s 7 percent bed tax. Without the bed tax subsidy to the project, the city would have lost more than $500,000 in the past three years. Because of the bed tax money, however, the city’s general fund lost no money. Instead, the city was able to put about $90,000 into the general fund in the past three years. But this would stop if council approved the advisory committee’s plan. “We could have a compromise position and put no money in the general fund,” committee member Luke Speckman said. All money made from gate admissions, season pass sales, See LIGHTS/3A Inside Abby.......................... .....5A Classifieds.................... ...4-8B Comics......................... ......2B Crossword.................... ......7A Forum........................... ......6A Local/Metro.................. ......4A Movies.......................... ......5A Obituaries..................... ......3A Sports......................... ..7-8A Today........................... ......2A Television....................... ......2B Key Code 76 Evacuations ■ JAN. 10 — A pipe bomb is discovered in boys’ restroom at Blanco High School. ■ JAN. 14 — Smithson Valley Middle School evacuated after written bomb threat is found in a boys’ restroom. ■ JAN. 18 — San Marcos High School evacuated when an anonymous caller reports two bombs are at the school. Wednesday Another bomb threat hits area school From Staff Reports SAN MARCOS — Another school day in a small Texas town was disrupted Tuesday afternoon when an anonymous caller phoned in a bomb threat to the San Marcos Police Department. About 1,800 students and school staff were evacuated from San Marcos High School during lunch Tuesday when police officials reported the anonymous threat about two bombs at the high school, 1301 Texas 123. Captain Mark Minnick with the San Marcos Police Department said no explosive devices were found after police and firefighters conducted a visual sweep of the campus. Minnick said an agent with the Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms division from Austin also was called to the scene as well as bomb-sniffing dogs from Kelly Air Force Base. Early Tuesday evening, Minnick said officials with the bomb-sniffing dogs were still at the campus. No arrests had been made by Tuesday evening, but Minnick said the police department and the fire marshal’s office would use “every device available” to investigate the incident and make an arrest. See BOMB THREAT/3A A walk in the park K. JESSIE SLATEN/Herald-Zeitung Warm weather brought many New Braunfels residents to Landa Park Tuesday afternoon. Posted “no wading” signs kept 10-year-old Jade Socha and 1-year-old Tawny Gunther from entering the cool water. Lockhart man gets 20-year sentence By Heather Todd Staff Writer A Comal County jury sentenced 21 -year old Carlos Cantu to 20 years in prison for the murder of Lockhart resident Henry P. Silva in 1998. A six-man, six-woman jury convicted Cantu, also of Lockhart, on charges of second-degree murder (murder of sudden passion) and two counts of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon Monday. The jury began deliberations and reached a verdict Monday evening after a week of testimony. Jurors determined punishment Tuesday. Cantu was sentenced to 20 years in a Texas Department of Criminal Justice facility for the murder charge, and a pair of 15-year sentences for the two aggravated assault charges. The sentences are concurrent. Silva, 21, suffered a single gunshot wound to the abdomen from a .45-caliber weapon at about IO p.m. at the 300 block of China Street on Feb. 20, 1998. Cantu did not fire the fatal shot, but prosecutors argued he aided by firing a firearm in the air and at Silva’s friends. Extension service extends spacePrograms get more elbow room By Erin Magruder Staff Writer A bigger and better meeting facility for the Comal County Agricultural Extension Service, 132 South Water Lane, is scheduled for completion by the end of the month. Construction of the $ 100,000-plus addition began in November and will add 2,240 square feet to the more than 7,000 square-foot building. The new meeting space will provide some additional growing room for the community educational classes the service provides, County Extension Agent Patricia Anderson Rasor said. “The building was built IO years ago, and we are growing just like everything else in the county,” Rasor said. “We provide educational programs for adults and youths in the county, and we did not have enough room to handle crowds.” CISD superintendent gets contract extension by the slimmest of margins By Heather Todd Staff Writer In a sharply divided vote Tuesday night, Comal Independent School District trustees decided to extend the contract of superintendent Jerry Major an additional year. Tuesday’s private meeting lasted about four hours. When it was over, trustees Dan Krueger, John Clay, Robert Loop and Nick Nichols voted to approve extending Major’s contract through June 30, 2003. Trustees Dora Gonzales, Lester W. Jonas and John Bertelsen voted against Major. Before Tuesday’s vote, Major’s contract with the school district was set to expire at the end of June 2002. According to state law, districts cannot award contracts exceeding five years. Major was hired by the district in July 1993. His annual salary is $100,000. He was hired under a three-year contract, CISD public information officer Kari Hutchison said. Since then, trustees have voted to extend Major’s contract on a year-to-year basis. In January 1999, trustees approved extending the contract through June 2002 by a 3-1-2 vote. NBISD trustees OK traffic plan By Heather Todd Staff Writer New Braunfels Independent School District trustees agreed unanimously Tuesday night to proceed with traffic improvements, including a traffic signal light in front of New Braunfels High School on Loop 337. Some of the improvements, such as a change in traffic patterns in and out of the school, could be initiated as early as this fall. A district traffic committee of school officials, parents, patrons, teachers and administrators recommended trustees proceed with proposed improvements developed by the Texas Transportation Institute for traffic control at the high school, 2551 N. Loop 337. The Texas Department of Transportation and the Texas Transportation Institute presented a three-phase plan to enhance traffic safety at a Dec. 14 board meeting. TxDOT agreed to conduct a traffic study on Loop 337 in front of the high school in response to public outcry for a traffic signal light after a fatal accident in front of the school in October. Shelby Farnsworth, 16, and Fernando Diaz, 15, were killed Oct. 9 when their car was struck by a quarter ton pickup on Loop 337 in front ofNBHS. Trustee Don Bedford was absent from meeting. In a 6-0 vote, trustees approved the following improvements: • Driveway No. I (next to baseball field) — driveway can be entered from both directions, but exit will be for school buses only; automatic arm will be installed to control exit for buses only; entrance only from driveway into adjacent parking area (posts and railing will be installed to keep traffic from entering Loop 337 from parking area). • Driveway No. 2 (main entrance to school) — Entrance only driveway from both directions; no exits • Driveway No. 3 (next to Gruene Wood Villa Apartments) — Traffic light installed along with sensors under the pavement to control lights; adjacent apartment complex driveway will become right turn in/right turn out only. Superintendent Ron Reaves said property owners of Gruene Wood Villa Apartments agreed in writing to cooperate with TxDOT and the school district to make necessary upgrades. Reaves said TxDOT officials said five proposed traffic projects, including the high school traffic plan, would be let to a contractor in July, with bids awarded in late August or early September. From there, Reaves said it would be up to the contractor to decide what order projects would be completed. NBISD expects to pay for upgrades to all driveways, the automatic arm, posts and railing, and possibly some pavement upgrades on school property. The meeting room, which has two to three times the capacity of the old facility, will be used for expanding extension programs, such as the 12 local 4-H Clubs and Master Gardeners, she said. The room, which was paid for by the county, was built by enclosing and expanding a carport at the back of the building. Comal County Extension Service is part of the Texas A&M University system and is funded by federal, state and county dollars. K. JESSIE SLATEN/Herald-ZeitungCounty Extension Agent Patricia Rasor stands in the middle of the soon-to-be-completed meeting room. ;