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New Braunfels Herald Zeitung (Newspaper) - July 1, 2003, New Braunfels, Texas »New Braunfels TUESDAY July 1, 2003 14 pages in 2 sections * ■■■F'    14    pages    in    2    sectuHerald-Zeitung Vol. 152, No. 194 Serving New Braunfels and Comal County since 1852 50 cents Path to civic center still unclear Council wants more time to study its four options By Dylan Jimenez Staff Writer New Braunfels City Council agreed Monday there was still not enough information to set forth any clear path for the civic center project. Lingering questions about finances, traffic impacts and the benefits of renovation compared to new construction left council members convinced they must study the issue further. Council heard presentations Monday from City Manager Chuck Pinto, Greater New Braunfels Chamber of Commerce Inc. President Michael Meek and Ken Rehler of Rehler, Vaughn, ‘and Koone Inc. Rehler detailed four options for council members: ■ Renovation of the current structure, which would increase the space from 15,000 square feet to 48,700 square feet. ■ Build a 48,000 square feet new facility near the Comal River. ■ Build a 72,00 square feet facility — an option largely dismissed by council. ■ Build a 60,000 square See CIVIC CENTER/4A Artist's rendering of new civic center building One of four civic center expansion ideas, this 60,000 square-feet structure would sit along the Comal River. Chandler pleads guilty to throat slashing By Ron Maloney Staff Writer A 27-year-old New Braunfels man pleaded guilty in district court Monday to the charge he assaulted his wife and slashed her throat. John Adam Chandler entered the plea to the charge of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon before 207th judicial district court Judge Jack Robison. A Comal County jury of six men and six women will decide what penalty Chandler pays. He faces a range of punishment from two to 20 years in state prison and a fine of up to $10,000. Prosecutor Ed Jendrzey opened the punishment phase of the trial with testimony from New Braunfels Fire Department paramedics who treated Amanda Marie ('handler on the night of Jan. 3. She suffered stab wounds and a slashed throat. New Braunfels police officer John Sullivan arrested Chandler Jan. 4 beneath a Loop 337 bridge, after searching 18 hours for him. Police alleged (’handler slashed his wife’s throat in their West Mill Street home. Chandler was taken to the Guadalupe County Jail because his victim’s mother works at the Comal County Jail. Amanda Chandler was treated at the scene by police and paramedics. She was flown to University Hospital and has been recovering since the attack. Today, testimony will See CHANDLER/4A Prison guard may be an inmate after bar incident By Ron Maloney Staff Writer A Gatesville man who works in a Texas prison could soon find himself living in one after an incident early Sunday at a River Road nightspot. The man, Davy D. Nichols, 25, was allegedly trying to impersonate a peace officer — and trying to scam a sheriff’s deputy while he was at it. Nichols is a prison guard who works for the Texas Department of Corrections. Comal County Sheriff’s Sgt. Tommy Ward said Nichols tried to close down the River Road Ice House at 12:40 a.m. Sunday. He said Nichols told staff and customers he was an officer with the Tbxas Alcoholic Beverage Commission, which regulates alcohol and enforces liquor laws. “He went around the establishment and identified himself to patrons and employees as a TABU officer,” Ward said. “He demanded Se© INCIDENTSInside Classifieds..............3-5B Comics...............7A Crossword.............7A Dear Abby.............SA Forum................6A Sports...............1,3B Today.................2A TV.............. 2B 2 men set ablaze; suspects sought 56825 00001 By Ron Maloney Staff Writer SPRING BRANCH — Sheriff’s deputies are looking for three suspects they say were involved in an altercation and assault at a Guadalupe River campground in which two victims were doused with lighter fluid and set afire. Comal County Sheriff’s Detective Wayne Lehman said the incident occurred May 25 at the Guadalupe Canoe Livery campground on the north bank of the river at the U.S. 281 crossing. Wanted for questioning are two men and a woman who drove the vehicle they escaped in. ‘Tile deputies who were dispatched to this incident found two male individuals were sprayed with lighter fluid and set on fire by two other males as a result of See SUSPECTS^Under Investigation A vehicle-pedestrian accident that resulted in the death of a 17-year-old Schertz girl remains under investigation. Samantha Stritmatter died June 7 after she was stnick by a pickup truck while walking on a gravel road in tile Guadalupe River Canoe Uvery. Sheriff s Sgt. Tommy Ward would not say Monday whether charges were forthcoming in connection with Stritmatter's death. “We’ve sent our case to the district attorney’s office for review. We'il follow up with anything Ole district attorney requests of us,* Ward said. Make sure Independence Day is a blast — use caution By Ron Maloney Staff Writer Public safety officials warn that those planning to use fireworks on the Fourth of July should practice caution lest the red glare of the experience be from fire or injury. New Braunfels Fire Marshal Darren Brinkkoeter said it is illegal to possess or use any fireworks within the city limits. “Our big concern is injuries," Brinkkoeter said. “We don’t want anyone hurt.” Brinkkoeter said fireworks are a problem each Independence Day. “We’ve increased our staffing to try to assist the police department in taking care of the problem,” he said. “In New Braunfels, the way to enjoy fireworks is at the annual display at Landa Park — and you don’t even have to go to Landa Park to see it. We’ll be there and provide fire protection for that display. It’ll be very safe and much more enjoyable.” The city of New Braunfels annual fireworks display will begin after dark on Friday at Landa Park. Fireworks are legal and are sold in unincorporated county areas, said county Fire Marshal Lin Manford. “You want to be careful to read and follow the safety instructions that are provided,” Manford said. This year, recent rains have made parts of the county relatively safe from wildfire risk. “But don’t be complacent,” Manford said. As of Monday, the drought index for Comal County was 342 on a scale from 0 to 800. In the wettest parts of the county, the drought index is 231 — only moderate; but in the driest areas it is 490, See FIREWORKS/3A DAVID INGRAM/HeraJd-Zedung Matt Buchanan, 11, hauls away one of many boxes of fireworks he and his dad, Paul, purchased. They bought more than $600.00 worth of fireworks from Eugene Almond Monday. The two will use tho fireworks Friday night as part of an annual neighborhood Independence Day celebration on Lake McQueeney.Fireworks Facts$ IN NEW BRAUNFELS: Eugene Almond checks his inventory at the start of business on Monday. Almond says the most popular items for children are sparklers, fountains and tanks. Adults tend to gravitate toward larger fireworks like rockets and big shots. Possession of a fireworks device in New Braunfels is a class C misdemeanor punishable by a fine of up to $500. Throwing a fireworks device — even a firecracker — from a vehicle or at a vehicle is also a class C misdemeanor — anywhere in Texas. Penalties increase if the incident causes injury.% IN COMAL COUNTY: Fireworks are legal and are sold in unincorporated county areas. JfS ACROSS THE UNITED STATES: Fireworks cause an average of more than 8,000 injuries and 20 deaths each year. Children age 14 and under account for 25 percent of the injury and death statistics. Fireworks are responsible for 24,000 fires and more than $26 million in property damage each year. ;