New Braunfels Herald Zeitung (Newspaper) - July 4, 2004, New Braunfels, Texas
JULY 4, 2004
WnlWll"'1 Friends have gotten together for annual fishing weekends since 1946. Now it s less fishing and more poker. Page IC
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SPORTS STILL GOING
Five area Little League teams are still in the hunt for a district crown as playoffs continue. Page IB
Serving New Braunfels and Comal County since 1852
Vol. 153, No. 203 30 pages, 4 sections
Details .... 38
DEAR ABBY 6C CLASSIFIEDS ID COMICS 4C CROSSWORD 4C FORUM 4A
OBITUARIES 3A SPORTS 1B TV GRIDS 5-6C
Extra rains bring flood of hungry mosquitoes
Demands for more river enforcement strain short-staffed NBPD
By Ron Maloney
On Father’s Day 2003, police Sgt. Mike Rutherford worked on the river, standing in the sun watching for foam cups, public drunkenness and other unruly behavior.
A group of tubers went by, and one hollered out words to the effect that it must be a great job getting paid to hang out at the river.
Rutherford put on a small smile, but inside, he felt a little different.
“Yeah, I’m having a great Father’s Day, not being able to be home with my kids,” Rutherford said to himself.
Today, the seven-member patrol shift and 27 New Braunfels police officers on river duty will miss another holiday with their families.
They’ll collect $16,000 in overtime this weekend to do it, but many won’t be happy about it.
The city’s river enforcement program has become a sort of summer death march for its police officers.
From Memorial Day to Labor Day, many will be ordered to work overtime to staff die rivers — after regular work weeks of 50 to 60 hours, depending on the shift rotation.
They’ll cash the paychecks and, in many cases, appreciate the money.
They don’t appreciate the impression on the part of some that it’s a cushy job. They especially don’t appreciate the sacrifices their families make so they can provide the river enforcement.
Police Lt. John Villarreal runs New Braunfels Police Department’s 47-member patrol division. He schedules the police coverage and officers assigned to provide it.
Villarreal says the department is overextended just patrolling its 255 miles of streets and 40.02 square miles of area.
Each day this holiday weekend, he will have those 27 officers, including himself, on the river. If nobody calls in sick, there will be seven officers patrolling the rest of the city outside river neighborhoods.
Because it’s a busy holiday weekend, the river patrol officers will be helped by eight officers from the Texas Alcoholic
New Braunfels police officer Jermyn Baker, left, questions a young woman drinking Saturday afternoon below the tube chute. In the water are officers David Olson and Capt. Chris Snyder. Eleven NBPD officers and three Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission officers were patrolling this area along the Comal River.
J tower Mound
POLICE OFFICERS PER 1,000 POPULATION National avg.: 2 6 Taxas: 2.2 Now Braunfels: 16
Saturday three weeks ago, Comal County Sheriff’s Office sent 13 officers into the city to help with traffic issues around the Comal River.
Thursday, the city got a bill from the county for about $2,100.
“I appreciate the sheriff’s help, and I’m glad the TABC is coming this weekend,” Villarreal said. “But
what about all the other weekends? I don’t care where you look, we’re short of staff.”
Every summer weekend, supervisory officers exempt from overtime and not paid for the extra hours they work — including Villarreal and Chief of Police Russ johnson — work additional hours.
Every weekend, officers who already have worked 50 or 60
hours are ordered to work during their days off.
“I could exercise my privilege as an administrator and not to go and work because I’m an exempt employee,” Villarreal said. "I don’t get paid more for choosing to work seven days a week instead of five. But how could I be home and look at myself in the mirror? If I order these men to sweat, I sweat. If they’re deprived of their time off, I owe it to them to be there with them.”
Those river patrol officers worked more than 3,983 hours of overtime in the fiscal year just ended at overtime rates of more than $27 an hour.
At $104,204.47, the expense is by far the single largest in the city’s $365,915.28 annual budget for law enforcement on the rivers.
All but $50,000 of that budget, which comes out of the city’s general fund, is paid by tube taxes and parking fees.
See POLICK, Page 7A
■ Comal County engineer s office; 608-2090.
■ City of New Braunfels sanitarian's office: 608-2100. ext 215
By Ron Maloney
Spring’s wet weather hasn’t only been a boon to plants.
A little water can go a long way in the insect kingdom — particularly when it comes to providing breeding habitat for mosquitoes.
Locally, officials are watching the mosquito situation — and advising that residents not do anything to make life easier for the annoying insects that can spread illness such as West Nile disease.
State entomologists are watching to see how big this year’s class of the
flying insects will be.
“They are now all congregating at the edge of town, in town or coming to town within the next few days, and they’re probably going to meet everybody on the Fourth of July in the backyards and lawn parties,” said Jim Olson, entomologist with the Texas Agricultural Experiment Station at Texas A&M.
The consistent rains have flushed out breeding sites of the dreaded Culex mosquitos, notorious carriers of St. Louis encephalitis and West Nile. But different breeds of the bloodsucking pests, called floodwater mosquitoes, will be hatching by the millions.
Some of these insects can travel 25 to 30 miles looking for lunch, although most varieties in Texas — except for the Aedes
See MOSQUITOES Page 9A
Parade of patriotism marks nation’s birthday
By Ron Malonoy
Parades, as everyone knows — particularly Independence Day parades — are about Uncle Sam and patriotism, military marching music, politicians, antique autos and kids on red, white and blue-bunted bikes.
Kids and Uncle Sam were well represented Saturday in New Braunfels’ annual July Fourth parade around Main Plaza.
As the Comal Community Band played patriotic stan
dards on the Plaza bandstand, two dozen members of the “Uncle Sam Gang” were among those who marched or rode around hundreds who lined the streets downtown.
Tody Sindelar and Joe Bradley are members of the “Uncle Sam Gang,” which wears Cat in the Hat-style red, white and blue top hats and has participated in the last nine or so parades.
“I've stood and watched this parade my entire life,” Sindelar said. “It used to be a
few old cars and a couple of bicycles.”
Sindelar decided to step away from the sidelines and join the fun.
Always on the lookout for parade gear, Sindelar is the one who found the group’s signature, starred-and-striped headwear.
“Everywhere I go that I find red, white and blue, I buy it,” she said.
The theme for this year’s Sophienburg-sponsored parade, “Patriotism ... So Proudly We Hail,” was just
right for die gang and its senior member, joe Bradley.
Bradley, 80, was a prisoner-of-war of the Germans during World War II who has lived in New Braunfels for about a quarter of a century. Saturday’s was his fifth or sixth parade with the gang.
Like the rest of the gang, he threw a piece of “Support our Troops” Americana — wooden nickels.
He had an unlit cigar clenched between his teeth — and it was no Uncle Sam pron.
See FARAD!. Page 9A
DAVID INGRAM/Herald Zeilung
Participants in Saturday morning's July Fourth parade show their patriotism while riding around Main Plaza.
MILLER & MILLER
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Rockets red glare
Qty celebrates July Fourth with a bang at annual fireworks show at 9:15 pun. today in Landa Park.