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New Braunfels Herald Zeitung (Newspaper) - January 29, 2003, New Braunfels, Texas New Braunfels WEDNESDAY January 29, 2003 14 pages in 2 sections "TBT"    14    pages    in    I    seetuHerald-Zeitung mmfii SH HH^HI r Vol, 152, No. 66 Serving New Braunfels and Comal County since 1852 50 cents Bush rails against Hussein, lauds tax cuts State of the Union focuses on economy, impending war From Staff and Wire Reports Building a case for war against Iraq, President George W. Bush said Tuesday night he has fresh evidence that Saddam Hussein seeks to “dominate, intimidate or attack” with weapons of mass destruction that he could share with terrorist allies. He pledged to “fight with the full force and might of the United States military,” if necessary, to disarm Iraq. “A future lived at the mercy of terrible threats is no peace at all,” Bush said in a State of the Union address delivered before Congress and broadcast live around the world. Two local retired military officers with children in the Middle East were supportive of Bush’s vision Tuesday evening. Jim Reid, a retired Marine colonel who graduated from the Industrial College of the Armed Forces and was a professor of naval science at Texas A&M University in College Station, is now the department head of the Marine Corps Junior ROTC at New Braunfels High School. Reid said he thought Bush made a case for forcing Hussein to disarm, if necessary, and was right in still providing Hussein a chance to comply with U.N. resolutions. “It wasn’t an outright declaration of war,” Reid said of Bush’s speech. Reid also said he thought the Democrats might want to make Bush invoke the War Powers Act ifSee BUSH/3A “lf this is not evil, then evil has no meaning.” — Bush, on Saddam Hussein Meek: More jobs, tax revenue could be headed this way By Ron Maloney Staff Writer Greater New Braunfels Chamber of Commerce Inc. President Michael Meek discussed Monday the challenges the city has faced in economic development over the past four years. Meek acknowledged during a presentation to city council that New Braunfels has lost nearly 2,000 jobs — one-tenth of its job base — during the past 18 months, and more layoffs could be on the way. “There are two faces to the local economy. One face is a 20 percent increase in the construction of single-familv homes,” Meek said. “The second face is flat sales tax revenues, commercial construction down $20 million and the loss of 2,000 jobs,” Meek said. One local employer of IOO he did not identify would need help to survive in New Braunfels, Meek said. He called on council to discard a proposal by District 3 Councilwoman Debbie Flume to take to voters a plan to use two-thirds of the sales tax earmarked for economic development to repair streets. “With the national, state and local economies as they are, now is not the time to divert money from economic development,” Meek said. “This is short-sighted, ill-timed and fiscally irresponsible.” In the works Projects the Greater New Braunfels Chamber of Commerce said could help offset the 2,000 jobs the area has lost during the past 18 months include: ■ a firm looking at a former Flextronics building that could bring more than $11 million in new taxable value and 270 jobs; ■ a firm looking at a Flextronics building could bring $15 million in tax base and 70 new jobs; ■ a firm with 200 jobs looking at the former main Flextronics building on Freiheit Road; ■ an inbound call center that could bring 300 jobs; ■ parts suppliers for the Toyota truck plant that might be coming to San Antonio; ■ a new tenant for the former Walgreens building at Walnut and San Antonio; ■ two firms looking at me former National Sanitary Supply building on Loop 337; and ■ numerous firms have inquired about the New Braunfels Kmart — which hasn’t closed yet. With its recent challenges, Meek said, economic development now brings cause for optimism as well. Economic development officials at the chamber of commerce and the city are in talks with prospective employers Meek said could bring tens of millions of dollars in tax base to the city and nearly 1,000 jobs. In addition, he said, deals could be near that would fill some well-known empty buildings locally — and one See JOBS/3A Elderly woman dies in fire Officials think blaze’s cause was accidental By Ron Maloney Staff Writer An 81-year-old New Braunfels woman died Tuesday morning in the fire that destroyed her Rivercrest Drive home. New Braunfels Fire Marshal Darren Brinkkoeter said Marjorie C. Mitchell, 1215 Rivercrest, was found dead in her bedroom shortly before 6 a.m. Brinkkoeter said the preliminary report from the Bexar County Medical Examiner’s Office Tuesday was that Mitchell died of smoke inhalation. Her home, appraised at $100,000, was a complete loss. The fire was believed accidental in origin, Brinkkoeter said. New Braunfels Battalion Chief Steve Mabe said firefighters were dispatched to Mitchell’s home at 5:45 a.m. after a neighbor reported the fire. “We responded with a full assignment, and Truck 3 was first on scene,” Mabe said. A “full assignment” is the NBFD’s regular structure fire response. It means every firefighter on duty and eveiy available truck and engine was dispatched. Truck 3 arrived from Hanz Drive four minutes after the first alarm. Arriving firefighters saw flames billowing out the front three windows and through the roof in the center of the home. The roof was nearing collapse, Mabe said. “At the same time, we got reports from dispatch that there was a possible victim in the house,” Mabe said. See FIRE/3A DAVID INGRAM/Herald-Zeitung (Above) New Braunfels Fire Marshal Darren Brinkkoeter and Battalion Chief Don Zercher discuss the possible causes of a house fire at 1215 Rivercrest Drive. Marjorie C. Mitchell, 81, died in the early morning blaze. (Left) Brinkkoeter speaks with Sid Clifton, Mitchell’s brother, while investigating the fire. The fire is believed to have started in the kitchen area. Mitchell died of smoke inhalation. Annual Troutfest kicks off Thursday By Ron Maloney Staff Writer It’s time to start reeling ’em in at Landa Park. Troutfest 2003, the annual winter fishing event sponsored by New Braunfels Parks and Recreation and Guadalupe River Trout Unlimited, begins Thursday and runs through Feb. 9. in the spring-fed pool at Landa Park. Weekday hours are 4 to 8 p.m. Weekend hours are IO a.m. to 8 p.m. Admission for those fishing is $4 for children and seniors and $6 for adults. Each pass is good for up to five fish. The annual kid’s fishing derby is conducted Saturday At a glance ■ WHAT Troutfest 2003 ■ WHEN: 4 to 8 p.m. weekdays and 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. weekends Thursday through Feb. 9 ■ WHERE: Landa Park spring-fed pool Admission is $4 for children and seniors and $6 for adults — good for up to five fish from 8 to ll a.m. with trophies going to the children who catch the largest trout and catfish. Entry fee for the fishing derby is $5. New Braunfels Parks and Recreation Director Iris Nef-fendorf said 1,000 trout and 1,500 pounds of catfish would be stocked in the pool before the event begins. 'Troutfest is a major winter event we host here in Landa Park Jan. 30 through Feb. 9. It’s a family event where we stock the spring-fed pool with trout and catfish. It makes it great for those who might want to try their skills at angling,” Neffendorf said. Troutfest is also good for young would-be fly fishermen, Neffendorf said. ‘This is for any level of skill. If you’re a novice and would like to pick up fly fishing, we host clinics with Guadalupe River Trout Unlimited for children ages IO to 17 years old. We also host a fishing tournament for ages IO and up,” Neffendorf said. See TROUT FEST/3A Inside Abby....................................5A Arts and Entertainment 3B Classifieds...........................3-6B Comics................................2B Crossword..........................5A Forum.................................6A Movies................................5A Obituaries...........................3A Sports..............................7-8A Today..................................2A Key Ccxle 76 $""58825 00001 I K. JESSIE SLATEN/Heraid-Zertung Alterra Sterling House resident Mildred Reeh holds tightly to 4-year-old Cody Lane’s hand as he explains with pride how he rode his own horse on the trail Tuesday. Lane, his mother, Gladys Foster (kneeling), Gerald DeLaO (standing) and more than a dozen other riders stopped in for their annual visit with the residents Tuesday evening. The group, on their way to the San Antonio Rodeo, will travel through town today, leaving the fair grounds at 8 a.m. and visiting both Eden Home and Kirkwood Manor Nursing Home. Trail ride stop ;