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New Braunfels Herald Zeitung (Newspaper) - January 26, 1999, New Braunfels, Texas A New FELS 20332 MOO9 .10/22/99 SO-UEST MI. CRO PU Bl. I SH I NG 2627 E YONDELL DR EL PRI SO, TX 7 9903 7 6 MHP pHBpp    Ll... Herald-Zeitung Vol. 148, No. 48    12    pages    in    I    section    January    26,    1999 Tuesday Serving Comal County since 1852 50 cents1-35 wreck kills man From staff reports An East Texas man died in a one-vehicle accident Sunday on Interstate 35 in New Braunfels. Local officials said it was the first traffic fatality of the year in the city. Police reported Jerry Lee Hovens, 56, of Gladewater, was pinned under his 1986 International 3 1/2 ton truck that flipped twice and landed in the median in the 3200 block of 1-35 South. The report showed Hovens apparently lost control of the vehicle while traveling southbound on the interstate. Precinct No. I Justice of the Peace Diana Campos pronounced Hovens dead at the scene. Wind pulls men from trailer ROBIN CORNETT/Herald-Zertung Dora Estrada, fourth from left, helps New Braunfels emergency response personnel by holding a fluid bag while they treat an accident victim Monday afternoon on Interstate 35. Two road construction employees apparently were thrown from a trailer by a wind gust. By Chris Crews Staff Writer A wind gust apparently ripped two men and road signs from a trailer Monday afternoon on Interstate 35 in New Braunfels. Law enforcement officials called it “a freak accident.” The men were seriously injured and taken to area hospitals for treatment. Both men were thrown from a flatbed trailer traveling north on 1-35 about 1/4 mile north of Ruekle Road at 2:53 p.m. The trailer was pulled by a Mr. Smith goes to NB Congressman vows to help Comal County in tobacco fund battle By Chris Crews Staff Writer Congressman Lamar Smith promised Comal County commissioners Monday he would help the county hold on to more than $900,000 it received from the state's settlement with the tobacco companies. Smith, R-San Antonio, said the federal government might use a provision in the Social Security Act to claim up to 40 percent of the funds the states won from their lawsuits against the tobacco companies. “This is a money grab by the federal government, and we are against that,” Smith told county commissioners. County Judge Danny Scheel asked for Smiths assistance in helping the county hold on to the funds it had been allotted by the state. He said the $915,409 the county received this year had been earmarked for indigent health care. County Auditor David Renken said the county spent $330,956 on indigent care in 1997 but collected only $ 134,231 in property tax revenue to cover indigent expenses. The county transferred $196,725 from the general operating fund to the indigent health fund in 1998 to make up the difference in health care costs. Smith said he would join other house members to co-sponsor legislation presented by Mike Bili-rakis (R-Florida) to prohibit the Secretary of Health and Human Services from forcing Medicaid-related funds recovered as part of the settlement to be returned to the federal government. BC < am £+\ What He Said On obtaining approximately $12 million to build floodwater control dams on tributaries of the Guadalupe River: “If FEMA can’t fund the dams, then we will go straight to legislation.” On encouraging the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to work with county officials to establish a water reserve in Canyon Lake for summer recreation : “FU call the Corps myself. They are in the business of being responsive to citizens.” On President Clinton s State of the Union address: “He took credit for balancing the budget. Unless I’m missing something, this is the same president who vetoed the first two balanced budget amendments.” see congressman^ Lawmaker: Trial likely to end in compromise ROBIN CORNETT/Herald-Zertung Above, U.S. Rep. Lamar Smith talks with Robert West on Monday. Top, Cristabell West listens to Smith’s luncheon speech. By Bill O’Connell Staff Writer A Washington lawmaker told New Braunfels Republican Women on Monday he expected the impeachment trial of President Clinton to end in a compromise. U.S. Representative Lamar Smith, the key speaker at NBRW’s 35th annual membership luncheon, said he doubted the historic proceedings would result in Clinton’s removal from office. “I think it is very likely there will be some sort of compromise,” Smith said, adding that censure was a possible alternative to impeachment. Even as Republicans and Democrats in Washington argued Monday over the calling of witnesses in the first presidential impeachment trial in 131 years, Smith said the final decision should not be hastened in an effort to put the matter to rest. Some Washington lawmakers have suggested ending the trial to prevent it from taking more time. The San Antonio Republican said he wanted to see the trial reach a conclusion before senators considered censuring the president. See TRIAL/3 pickup truck belonging to a local construction company and carried road construction signs. Witnesses and officials said they believed a strong gust of wind pulled the signs and the men from the trailer. The men landed on the roadway. Officials said the injuries die men sustained most likely were from the landing, and they did not believe the men were struck by oncoming motorists. An Airlift helicopter landed on the northbound lanes of I-35 about 4 p.m. and transported a 32-year-old Poteet man to University Hospital in San Antonio. The man was reported in critical condition late Monday evening. New Braunfels EMS transported a 46-year-old San Marcos man to McKenna Memorial Hospital. His condition was unknown at press time. The men were employed by Dean Word Company of New Braunfels. The Texas Department of Transportation contracted with Dean Word Company for work on the 1-35 expansion project. Company president Dean Word said he was extremely distraught and hoped both men would recover. JOHNSON Hearing begins with arguments, detailed testimony in Ingram debate By Heather Todd Staff Writer SMITHSON VALLEY — An official hearing on Ingram Readymix Company’s plans for a new concrete batch plant opened Monday with detailed testimony on the concrete manufacturer’s air emissions and planned water usage. Opening arguments from both sides of the debate were heard before administrative law judge Kerry Sullivan and a crowd of about 25 residents at the Guadalupe Valley Telephone Cooperative auditorium. Area residents requested the formal hearing, conducted by the Texas Natural Resource Conservation Commission, after Ingram sought a “standard exemption” from the TNRCC. A “standard exemption” would allow Ingram Readymix to construct a new plant in the Spring Branch and Smithson Valley area near Texas Highway 46 — just one mile from three Comal Independent School District schools. During his opening arguments, Bill Zeis, an attorney representing Ingram Readymix, said information provided by Ingram Readymix would prove air quality control measures of the proposed plant would exceed technical and legal requirements of a “standard exemption.” A standard exemption is authorized by the TNRCC as a less stringent standard for facilities with lower air emissions. The general rule for determining whether a manufacturer can apply for a standard exemption if air emissions must be less than 25 tons per year, TNRCC representatives said. “We will also provide information that will show that the plant will be able to operate its pollution control equipment along with its concrete production within the limits of available water,” Zeis said. Stewart Henry, an Austin-based environmental attorney representing a local citizen’s group, said evidence would prove not enough water was available at the proposed site for the plant’s production and pollution control. Henry also said Ingram’s planned location for the new plant would be a safety hazard to school buses and drivers along Texas 46. The local group Citizens League for Environmental Action Now and CISD board members voiced concern about the impact of the plant’s location on air quality, water usage and traffic along Texas 46. Gary Johnson, vice president of Ingram Readymix Company, testified as an “expert” witness on the operations of a concrete manufacturing plant. Johnson testified Ingram voluntarily submitted a P18 form, See HEARING/3Friedens Church fires pastor 38 days after voting to keep her By Bill O’Connell Staff Writer GERONIMO — Friedens United Church of Christ fired its senior minister Sunday, 38 days after church members voted to retain her in the wake of a misdemeanor theft conviction in Comal County. Church members voted 167-56 Sunday to terminate Ardie Kendig’s employment at the church. Kendig, 45, had been senior minister at the church since 1990. think the vote shows the congregation was ready for a change,” Friedens Church council member Diane Wallace said. Kendig could not be reached for comment on Monday. Some Friedens Church members objected to Sunday’s vote, saying the church council did not notify the congregation of another vote on Kendig’s employment. “I’m very unhappy about it. I think it was very unjust and unkind,” church member Dorothy Timmermann said. Wallace said the vote on Kendig’s employment was added to the agenda during the meeting, which was not a violation of the church’s constitution. “This was a regularly called congregational meeting. Any item of concern to the church can be put on the agenda,” Wallace said. Several members of the congregation said they were satisfied Friedens Church officially ended its relationship with Kendig, who was placed on two years probation in December 1998 after a misdemeanor theft conviction in Comal County Court-at-Law. Kendig received a five-year probation sen tence in Hawaii in 1997 after pleading no contest to a felony theft charge in Honolulu County. Kendig was placed on paid leave and will continue to receive her salary for the next three months, Wallace said. During a special congregational meeting on Dec. 16, Friedens Church members voted 152-105 in favor of releasing Kendig. Although most church members in attendance voted to fire her, the margin was 19 votes shy of the 171 required for a two-thirds majority mandated by church by-laws. Inside Abby................................5 Business...............................5 Classifieds.......................9-12 Comics...............................7 Crossword..........................7 Forum.................................4 Local...................................2 Obituaries...........................3 Sports..............................8-9 Today.................................2 Television..............................7 ;