New Braunfels Herald Zeitung (Newspaper) - January 27, 1995, New Braunfels, Texas
ft To talk with Managing Editor Mark Lyon about •ie Opinion page, call 625-9144, ext. 21
i t ii ii gOpinion
O T A B L E
“We’re not involved in censorship. We have different values than the ones on MTV. Ours are higher.”
- Jim Broich mayor of Sleepy Eye, Minn., 1994
EDITORIALSKudos!Herald-Zeitung salutes those who make the world a better place
Kudos, a weekly feature of the New Braunfels Herald-Zeitung, is intended to highlight the good news of our community.
You can be part of this. If you know someone deserving recognition, call Mark Lyon at 625-9144. Also, you can submit your Kudos in writing to Kudos, New Braunfels Herald-Zeitung, 707 Landa St., New Braunfels, Texas 78130.
This week’s Kudos:
■ Louise Stott, who has been a volunteer at Eden Home for at least IO years or more. She records volunteer hours and also the residents' participation in all events which she sends in a report to the state. She serves as president of Eden Home Auxiliary, training and coordinating volunteers at different activities.
Louise is also active in senior citizens' state group of entertainers.
■ Gilbert Krueger, who continues to pick up aluminum cans around the area, donating the money from those collections to the women's shelter.
■ On Feb. I, Canyon High School senior Chris Foegelle will be signing a National Letter of Intent to play Division I football for the University of North Texas in Denton. Foegelle, an offensive lineman, was a three-year starter for the Cougars.
■ Clay Blaker and others who are answering a call for help from six-month old Christal Davis, who is in need of a liver transplant. Blaker is scheduled to play a concert tonight at the Sonterra Club tonight. All proceeds go toward medical expenses for Davis' family.Write us
The New Braunfels Herald-Zeitung welcomes letters on any public issue. The editor reserves the right to correct spelling, style, punctuation and known factual errors. Letters should be kept to 250 words. We publish only original mail addressed to The New Braunfels Herald-Zeitung bearing the writer's signature. Also, an address and a telephone number, which are not for publication, must be included.
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Letters to the Editor do The New Braunfels Herald-Zeitung
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New Braunfels, Texas 78131-1328
Editor and Publisher...........................................................David Suttons
General Manager...........................................................Cheryl Duvall
Managing Editor.................................................................Mark Lyon
Advertising Director................ Paul Davis
Circulation Director....................................................Card Ann Avery
Pressroom Foreman.................................................Douglas Brandt
Classified Manager....................................................Karen Reinmger
City Editor................................................... Roger Croteau
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Ramon Chapa to be honored tonight
Last Sunday morning, I went to the Senior Center to get a little work done in the peace and quiet of the day. I unlocked the door and did what I had been told to disarm the alarm system. The read-out gave me an okay and registered that all systems were normal. Then, the phone rang. It was the security alarm person asking me who I was and what I was doing, and so forth. Then she asked, “What is the password?’ Well, needless to say, I did not know the password. I tried to identify myself and explain who I was and what I was doing—but, no matter, I did not know the password. Furthermore, I didn’t even know there was a password.
Anyway, after many phone calls and instructions, it all got worked out...I thought. Then another call came from the police station telling me to please go outside because a police officer was coming to check on the Center and on me—actually to see if I was okay.
Then, by the time I talked to Gladys and Shirley and everybody in town, it was too late to get any work done. I may think twice before going down on Sunday to a closed shop again.
I’m kiddin’. I really did get some work done, and more importantly, the whole alarm thing was an experience I wouldn’t trade for anything because I
learned not only how to operate the system but I learned what a terrific job the Seiler Alarm and Security Company is doing, and once again, how prompt and responsibly the police respond. It gives me a good feeling to know that I live in a town where such business is taken seriously. Thank you all for caring.
Now today, Jan. 27, the Chamber of Commerce Annual Meeting and Awards Banquet is being held in the Civic Center. One of our own Board of Trustees, Ramon Chapa, is being honored. The Senior Center is proud of Ramon and exceedingly pleased that he is a member of our Board where he volunteers for just about everything—way above his call to duty. Ramon is indeed a “citizen of many years’’ person, and the community is fortunate to have him.
An exciting new program will be starting Feb. 13,1995, and will be held on Mondays and Fridays from 1:00-2:00 p.m. It is the Arthritis Foundation Aquatic Program and will be taking place in the indoor pool of the Senior Center. This program is cosponsored by the South Central Texas Chapter of the Arthritis Foundation, Physical Therapy Unlimited, and the Comal County Senior Citizens Center. The classes will be five-week sessions led by trained personnel.
The cost per session will be $20.00 Anyone interested must pre-register by calling Robert Rodriguez of Physical Therapy Unlimited at 625-7300. Each participant must obtain a doctor’s written permission slip. The class sizes are limited to eight persons and
they are filled on a first-come basis, so please call now for further information.
The Senior Center’s pool meets the criteria set by the National Arthritis Foundation and the National Board of YMCA Program Committee: The pool must have heated water of at least 83° F; a pool deck and locker room with air temperature within five degrees above water temperature; pool depth of 4-5 feet so class participants can stand with shoulders submerged; easy access to pool water entry and exit; clean and uncluttered deck area; safety equipment (flotation devices, kickboards, life preservers); and the pool must be handicapped-accessible.
We at the Center are proud of the pool and exercise area and realize how important physical therapy is to the elderly. We are very fortunate to have this facility to offer to our membership and to persons suffering from arthritis.
Also, it is a pleasure to know that each time the Health Department inspects our pool, or is called by someone to inspect the pool (which happens often), we always get a clean bill of health. The pool is clean and passes inspection every time. Anyone wishing documentation of these inspections may review them by coming to the Center office.
Our exercise/pool volunteers, under the direction of Elinor Wells, are to be commended for a job well done.
(Marie Dawson is a guest columnist for the Herald-Zeitung, writing exclusively for and about the Comal County Senior Citizens Center.)
tie Democrats) draw the lire vtoetPf will tattle te ^publicans)//
Consumers have stake in ‘phone wars’
By JOHN HILDRETH
Special to the Herald-Zeitung
It is a complex issue involving billions of dollars, new technologies, corporate giants, and high-powered lobbyists. Some say a successful resolution will be a key lo Texas’ economic competitiveness. Yet, it is also a pocketbook matter for the average consumer, a reason why Consumers Union is in the thick of the battle.
At issue is the future of telephone service regulation in Texas, a key item as the Legislature begins its 74th session. The issue—both national and local in scope—was not resolved by the Legislature in 1993, nor by Congress in 1994. The Legislature’s Joint Interim Committee on Telecommunications has moved the process forward, bul several significant, and complex, issues remain unresolved.
It is unfortunate for consumers that the telecommunications debate has been framed as a business-versus-business-versus-business fight. In fact it is consumers who have the most at stake This debate should focus on whether consumers will have compcutive choices in the marketplace and sufficient regulation to protect them until real competition develops.
The telecommunications issue is so big and complex that it has resulted in some interesting alliances. On one side are local telephone companies like Southwestern Bell and GTE, which warn less regulatory oversight of their services. For example, the companies propose the regulators no longer examine their costs to see if they are charging just and reasonable rates for the services they provide. Rather, the companies want a brief ‘Tate freeze’’ coupled with some loopholes that allow
automatic price increases. In exchange for an end to more stringent regulation, the companies have made vague promises to invest in telecommunications projects, such as for education and medicine.
On the other side are long-distance telephone companies such as AT&T and MCI. cable TV companies, newspaper publishers, and consumer representatives led by the Southwest Regional Office of Consumers Union and the Office of Public Utility Counsel. Although these groups come lo the issue from diverse perspectives, the common denominator is a desire for legislation that will facilitate local telephone compeution, protect local ratepayers, and allow regulatory flexibility where competition exists. Consumers Union, along with other consumer and competitor representatives, has proposed legislation that balances the interests of the telephone industry, competitors, and consumers.
Although consumers have issues in common with potential competitors, the consumer position remains apart and distinct. Presently, there is no competition for local telephone service anywhere in Texas. Unless consumers can choose their local telephone service, they are captive customers of companies like Southwestern Bell, and regulation is their only protection.
The stale’s transition into a competitive telecommunications market is needed in order lo safeguard the interests of ratepayers and restrain anti-competitive practices. If true competition is to gain a foothold and replace regulation, barriers to entering the telecommunications market must first be lifted. Only as competition is established should
the local telephone companies be given the pricing flexibility they seek. Premature deregulation would present consumers with the worst possible situation—an unregulated monopoly providing an essential service. Yet competitors must not be allowed to “cherry pick” only the most lucrative customers, leaving the average consumer with only one choice. A balance must he struck that encourages the development of competition, yet protects the consumer interest.
Consumers Union’s key goals for telecommunication reform legislation are to: I) ensure affordable basic service during the transition to competition; 2) remove barriers that discourage competitive entry into local telecommunications markets; 3) require that rate increases for noncompetitive servi es be based on evidence and real cost information, not be made automatically; 4) retain regulatory oversight until sufficient competition is in place to regulate the market; and 5) maintain current regulatory protections for those phone companies not facing competition.
A lot is at stake in the “phone wars”—for every Texan who pays a telephone bill, for ihe businesses that want more choices for advanced telecommunications services, and for the companies lined up to provide these services. It would he a disservice to Texans for the issue to be settled in a way which ignores the consumer interest. Consumers Union will remain vigilant to see that the telephone industry, competitors, and legislators craft a telecommunications policy that is in the best interest of the public.
(Hildreth is director of the Southwest Hegiotiul Office of Consumers Union, and publisher of Consumer Reports magazine.)
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