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New Braunfels Herald Zeitung (Newspaper) - January 28, 1999, New Braunfels, Texas N EW jkUdiKFELS sorest nxc 20332 282? E VONDELL OE vqq03- Herald-Zeitung Vol. 148, No. 50    14    pages    in    I    section    January    28,    1999 Thursday Serving Comal County since 1852 50 cents By Heather Togo I Staff Writer A debilitating yet painless disease strikes millions of Americans each year, but almost half of them do not know it. Glaucoma is a blinding, but treatable, disease that silently damages the optic nerve with virtually no symptoms until it is too late. S. Grant Smith, a local ophthalmologist and president of New Braunfels Vision Center, PA., is a participant in the Glaucoma 2001 program, a public service effort of the American Academy of Ophthalmology to help Americans open their eyes to the risk factors of glaucoma. Smith said the program would help provide medical care to local residents who might not have access to an ophthalmologist. “Residents can call Glaucoma 200 Cs Helpline, and they will be asked specificHelpline Anyone who thinks they may be at risk for glaucoma can call the Glaucoma 2001 line toll-free at (800) 391-EYES. About 2.5 million Americans age 40 and older have primary glaucoma. questions, lf they are found to be at risk for glaucoma, they will be assigned to a doctor to be screened for the disease,” he said. Persons can call the Glaucoma 2001 toll-free number, (800) 391-EYES, to check if they are at moderate to high risk for the disease. About 2.5 million Americans age 40 and older have primary open-angle glaucoma — the most prevalent type — and 800,000 to 116,000 Americans are legally blind as a result of the disease, according to statistics from the American Academy of Ophthalmology. An additional 5,500 people become blinded by the disease each year, and 900,000 Americans are visually impaired as the result of glaucoma. The eye disease generally strikes Americans older than 50 years of age and causes vision loss over time by damaging the structure that transmits visual information from the eye to the brain. January is Glaucoma Awareness Month. Ophthalmologists nationwide are promoting their most effective weapon against this debilitating disease — prevention and awareness. Smith said if a Helpline caller was found to be at-risk for the disease but did not have an insurance plan or an existing physician, then the fees for a medical eye examination and any necessary treatment forSee GLAUCOMA/3 Smith gets call from county on water rights By Chris Crews Staff Writer Comal County officials enlisted help from Washington this week in their effort to obtain water rights for summer recreation purposes. County Judge Danny Scheel asked Congressman Lamar Smith for his help in securing a two-foot recreational pool level at Canyon Lake. Scheel said the county and the Water Oriented Recreation District then could control flow in the Guadalupe River during the summer recreation season. “That two feet of water would give us a steady 300 cubic feet per second in the summer season and the impact, if any, would be negligible on counties downstream,” Scheel said. Smith said he would personally make a telephone call to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to see if he could get the project moving. SMITH “They are in the business of being responsive to citizens. I don’t know why they are not willing to be helpful,” Smith said. The release from Canyon Dam is controlled by the Corps w hen the lake level is at 909 feet above mean sea level. At lower levels, the release rate is determined by the Guadalupe-Bianco River Authority. Scheel said GBRA supported the county’s efforts but the Corps could not “get off dead center” in helping establish the pool.See SMITH/3 Senate extends trial, calling for witnessesLewinsky, two others to testify WASHINGTON (AP) — The Republican-controlled Senate blocked dismissal of the impeachment case against President Clinton on Wednesday and then voted for new testimony from Monica Lewinsky and two other witnesses — but by margins well short of the two-thirds that would be needed to oust the president. In a pair of roll calls in the hushed Senate chamber, all 55 Republicans voted against dismissal and for the witnesses opposed by the White House. They were joined by a single Democrat, Russell Feingold of Wisconsin, leaving them far below the 67 needed for conviction. “The president will not be removed from office,” Senate Democratic leader Tom Daschle declared moments later in comments swiftly seconded by the White House. “For the good of the country and in keeping with the Constitution it is now time to end this trial.” Even before the votes, Daschle and Majority Leader Trent Lott were at work trying to fashion a bipartisan agreement for the balance of the trial, including videotaped depositions of Ms. Lewinsky, presidential friend Vernon Jordan and White House aide Sidney Blumenthal. By late afternoon, Lott told reporters the two parties had exchanged offers and he said he was hopeful for agree* ment by Thursday on a timetable for a final vote on the articles of impeachment by mid-February. He suggested the witness depositions — possibly videotaped — could take place over the weekend or Monday, and left open the question of whether the White House might then decide it wanted wit- Monica Lewinsky is one of three witnesses in the impeachment case called to testify by the Senate. nesses of its own There was no debate on the Senate floor before Wednesday’s two votes, but numerous senators issued written statements afterward. “I believe it is premature to dismiss this case at the present time,” said Richard Shelby, an Alabama Republican who had previously expressed misgivings about witnesses. He said he believed the prosecution “should be allowed the opportunity to demonstrate whether there is new and significant information that would justify live testimony.” By calling witnesses, House prosecutors hope to obtain evidence relating to their charges that Clinton sought to obstruct justice by persuading Ms. Lewinsky to sign a false affidavit in . the Paula Jones sexual harassment law-^Q/Hind by giving his aides false information about his relationship with Ms. Lewinsky to take to the grand jury. Judy Smith, a spokeswoman for Ms. Lewinsky, who was in California, said the former intern would comply with the subpoena once issued. WORD board restores its 4 percent motel tax By Chris Crews Staff Writer Water Oriented Recreation District directors voted 5-1 Wednesday to restore a 4 percent tax on motels and bed and breakfasts in the district. The action came after a vote by Comal County Commissioners two weeks ago that vetoed WORD’s request to raise taxes to pay for law enforcement on the Guadalupe River this summer. County Judge Danny Scheel said the veto was not a repudiation of WORD’s attempt to raise taxes on river users to pay for the law enforcement. Instead, it was a request for WORD to review the section dealing with motel and home rentals. WORD raised taxes on all water recreation, campgrounds and lodging to raise more than $150,000 for law enforcement during the summer recreation season, which runs from May through September. WORD General Manager Jim Inman noted the commissioners’ court voted 5-0 to send the proposal back to WORD for consideration. “I genuinely hope that they will vote it back in by a 5-0 vote,” Inman said. Commissioners will vote on the WORD proposal at a special meeting at 1:30 p.m. Friday at the courthouse. Inside Abby........................ .......5 Business..................... ........5 Classifieds................... .11-14 Comics....................... ........7 Crossword.................. ........5 Forum......................... ........6 Local........................... ........4 Obituaries.................... ........3 Sports.......................... ...9-10 Today......................... ........2 Television................... . 7 Key witnesses in Ingram trial dispute company’s claims By Heather Tooo Staff Writer SMITHSON VALLEY — Two key witnesses in Ingram Readymix Company’s application hearing disputed Ingram’s claims about planned water use and air quality control at a proposed plant site off Texas Highway 46. Mike Hunt, a local environmental engineer, and John Ashworth, a former member of the Texas Water Development board, both testified Tuesday as “expert” witnesses in the fight against the cement manufacturer’s application for a standard exemption. Ingram Readymix is proposing to build a new concrete batch plant west of the Texas 46 and US. 281 intersection, about one mile from three Comal Independent School District schools, a Christian school and three day cares. If the Texas Natural Resource Conservation Commission grants Ingram Readymix the standard exemption, the company would be authorized to construct the new plant under less stringent regulatory standards. The official hearing is conducted by the TNRCC but presided over by administrative law judge Kerry Sullivan, appointed by the Texas State Office of Administrative Hearings. Based on the evidence presented, Sullivan will make a recommendation to three TNRCC commissional, who then will decide whether Ingram Readymix gets its exemption. Hunt testified as a key witness for Citizens League for Environmental Action Now, a group of CISD and Bulverde residents represented by Austin attorney Stewart Henry. Hunt said he disagreed with air emissions data represented in Ingram's application based on his own air dispersion model. An air dispersion model is used to estimate the amount of dust particle concentration transferred off the plant site. A manufacturer’s calculated emissions rate is factored into an air dispersion model. Gary Johnson, vice president of Ingram Readymix, testified Monday the proposed plant would have a Total Suspended Particulate rate of .227 tons per year, which is less than the legal requirement — 25 tons perSee INGRAM/3 Help is in sight ROBIN CORNETT/Hera kl-Zertung S. Grant Smith, ophthalmologist and president of New Braunfels Vision Center, checks out glaucoma patient Hank Manross, right. Glaucoma is an blinding, but treatable, eye disease that silently damages the optic nerve with virtually no symptoms until it sets in. January has been designated as Glaucoma Awareness Month. New program revealing signs, symptoms of glaucoma ;