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New Braunfels Herald Zeitung (Newspaper) - January 24, 2004, New Braunfels, Texas SATURDAY, JANUARY 24, 2004 TSO SPORTS ROUNDUP Cougars fall to Del Valle, 64-60. SV girls keep district lead with 69-42 win. Page 5A FORUM GUEST COLUMN J.T. Woodall asks why should U.S. waste money on an unneeded luxury like a space program? Page 4A mmm 1 .»' i#r" a rf® \\ Serving New Braunfels and Comal County since 1852. Vol. 153, No. 62 12 pages, 2 sections CL WWW. ililill® I 500 '56825 00001' Mostly cloudy High Low 64 50 Details .... 1B DEAR ABBY 3B CLASSIFIEDS 4~6B COMICS 2B CROSSWORD 2B FORUM    4A OBITUARIES 3A SPORTS 5-6A TV GRIDS 3B FRONTand CenterWater activist, community leaderKenneth Fiedler honored with the chamber’s ‘Citizen of the Year’ award From schools to hospital, Fiedler’s impact far-reaching By Ron Maloney Staff Writer The man who won this year’s Besserung Award “carried the water" for years for this city on flood control and water quality issues — literally. The Greater New Braunfels Chamber of Commerce Inc. recognized Kenneth Fiedler’s recent years of work to ensure his neighbors an adequate supply of good, clean water and his lifetime of community service, giving him the honor reserved each year for this city’s outstanding citizen. Fiedler’s wife, Lorene, accepted the award for her husband at the 85th annual chamber banquet, conducted at the New Braunfels (avie Center. “On his behalf, I thank you so much,” she said. “I Ie would have been very proud and very honored to have this award. At the same time, I want to thank the many people who have been so kind during our time of loss.” Fiedler, 84, died in November and never learned he’d been chosen for the award. His death came within days of the passing of Ramon Chapa, 2003 chairman of the chamber, who was supposed to present the honor. Chamber 2004 Chairman John Dierksen, who filled in for Chapa, hailed the selftaught water expert and selfmotivated public servant as the only choice for this year’s Besserung. “It was clear to the chamber’s awards committee in early October last year that there could be only one Besserung Award winner for his accomplishments,” Dierksen said. In his last years Fiedler was instrumental in organizing the Guadalupe Basin Coalition, an organization of chambers of commerce, businesses and governments along the river See FIEDLER, Page 3ACar chase ends with officer hurt; I escapes By Ron Maloney Staff Writer A New Braunfels police officer and a burglary suspect sustained minor injuries in a confrontation after a high-speed car chase early Friday morning. T he suspect, a 19-year-old New Braunfels man, had not been processed into Comal County Jail Friday afternoon, and his name was not released. He was treated at McKenna Memorial Hospital for minor injuries and released to police. Scott Lange The police officer, Scott Ixinge, was not treated, officials said, and was cleared to return to work for his Saturday shift. Officers are seeking a second suspect in connection with the incident and anticipate an arrest. The second man fled the vehicle for nearby woods and escaped. The suspects are believed responsible for a number of motor vehicle burglaries in New Braunfels and Seguin. Police Sgt. Scan Gabbard said the suspect now in custody, who was driving the fleeing car, would be booked for evading detention with a motor vehicle and aggravated assault of a peace officer with a motor vehicle. Both charges are felonies. Lange’s injuries came when he tried to pull the driver from the car, and the driver attempted to speed off — with Lange hanging from the driver’s door. “He reached in to grab the driver to try to restrain him after the pursuit.” Gabbard said. “As the driver accelerated forward, the officer's gunbelt got caught. The guy was trying to get back onto See CHASE, Page 3A Simridge closes; Flexonics expands REBECCA S. ROGERS/Herald-Zettuny Lorene Fiedler accepts the Besserung Award for lier late husband, Kenneth, from Greater New Braunfels Chamber of Conv merce Chairman John Dierksen as her son, Lloyd, looks on. By Dylan Jim6nez Staff Writer Although New Braunfels lost another manufacturer in December, more jobs could be on the way. Simridge Technologies—a plastics injections molder — closed its doors in late December. “The bottom line is they got caught up in the post-9/11 economy,” said Michael Meek, (ireater New Braunfels Chamber of Commerce president. The two owners formerly held key manufacturing positions and bought out the company in 2001. “They kept the jobs hem for quite a while,” Meek said. “We were very pleased about that.” But a competitive industry and a hail economy finally caused the company to fail, Meek said. Meek sail! 30 people were laid off, despite media reports indicating the number was 86. That blow might be soft ened by the local expansion of manufacturer Senior Flexonics Pathway. The company will move its manufacturing activities from Tennessee and consolidate them in New Braunfels liy the end of 2004, according to a company news release. Hie New Braunfels plant will be modernized and expanded to more than 132,000 square feet. In the mid-1990s, New Braunfels enjoyed a strong plastics injections base comprising one-third of local manufacturing jobs. T hat business has thinned out with 2,000-plus manufacturing jobs lost in the past two years. “Things that were once high-tech became a commodity,” Meek said. “And when it becomes a commodity,'people like China take your business away.” Phone calls to Simridge Technologies were not returned Friday, and Flexonics corporate officials did not comment. DAVID INGRAM/Herald-Zeitung Lorene Fiedler holds a proclamation from State Rep. Carter Casteel while talking about her late husband. Kenneth, in the living room of their home. Kenneth Fiedler won the Besserung Award Friday night at the 85th annual chamber banquet. Deal gives Bulverde its first community park Aren’t they cute? Proud parents show off their babies in the Heraid-Zeitung’s annual “Baby’s First Year” special section. By Ron Maloney Staff Writer BULVERDE — County commissioners gave the (Tty of Bulverde a big boost toward its first public park Thursday. Commissioners unanimously approved a 99-year lease on 12.5 acres of land purchased after the 1998 flood. The park, which will be called Bulverde Community Park, is located on Bulverde Lane across from the Bul verde airport. Precinct 2 Commissioner Jay Mil -likin, whose district includes Bulverde, said the park would include football and soccer practice fields, as well as hall diamonds with picnic areas and a playground. The land, located alongside Indian Creek north of the Cibolo Creek, was an area of residences that washed away in lite October 1998 flood. ll was bought out by the county and the Federal Emergency Management Agency. Under federal rules, no new improvements can be made to the property that would result in insured flood losses. “It was our intent to convert this land into a community park for the Bulverde Jay Minikin area,” Minikin said, Currently, Bulverde residents make an eight-mile drive up U.S. 281 to Jumbo Evans Sports Park, which Minikin said would still happen for sports events. “They’ll go there for real ball games, hut their practice fields will he closer to home,” Minikin said. Bulverde (Tty Administrator Phyllis Petersen said the 99-year lease allowed Bulverde to invest in the facility. See PARK. Page 3A ;