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New Braunfels Herald Zeitung (Newspaper) - July 9, 2003, New Braunfels, Texas New Braunfels WEDNESDAY July 9, 2003 14 pages in 2 sections mmmmmm    14    pages    in    L    SCCHerald-Zeitung Vol. 152, No. 203 Serving New Braunfels and Comal County since 1852 ' 50 cents Senate likely to draw redistricting map of its own | SPECIA A SESSION On the Web Texas Legislative Council: Redistricting battle moves to the Senate/ 4A By Kelley Shannon Associated Press Writer AUSTIN — Democrats and some Republicans in the Texas Senate aren’t satisfied with a congressional redistricting map the House produced, meaning changes to the plan are needed, Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst said Tuesday. Before debate on the redistricting issue can begin in the Senate, the bill must receive a two-thirds vote. Only ll of 12 Democrats in the Senate would need to vote against the bill to prevent it horn getting to the floor. If the bill does make it to the floor for debate, it can be amended there or changed in conference committee. Whatever comes from the Senate floor, it is unlikely to resemble the congressional redistricting map approved Tuesday by the House. . “There are some concerns by members of the Senate on the House map that came over last night. So we’re going to have to go to work on that map if we’re going to see a redistricting plan come out of the Senate," Dewhurst said. Dewhurst, the Republican presiding officer of the Senate, said he asked to be involved in the drafting of the GOP-backed House plan, but he wasn’t included. He said he wasn’t complaining, though. “We had no insight into their map. We’re going to bend over backwards to keep them informed of our progress,” Dewhurst said. He expects Senate proposals to be completed later this week, with a Senate vote possible next week. The Republican-controlled House roiled over Democrats’ objections and gave final approval 83-62 early Tuesday to a redrawing of districts that could send as many as 21 Texas Republicans to Congress. Democrats now hold a 17-lb edge in the delegation. Among the senators who don’t like theInside Classifieds  ........4-6B Comics...............2B Crossword.............2B Food.................1B Forum................4A Sports..............   7A Today ................2A TV...................3B 8 ,,56825 00001    1 Nurse develops plan to fight bioterrorism locally By Sean Bowlin Staff Writer A veil of secrecy surrounds Israel Lopez's job. As bioterrorism planner for Comal County, Lopez is charged with developing plans and coordinating responses to health risks, like smallpox. That much he can tell you. What he can’t divulge is where people who need smallpox vaccination would go. Unless, of course, a widespread outbreak of the disease occurred. Since November 2002, Lopez has established 12 bioterrorism response clinics — one in each of Comal County’s 12 census tracts. The clinics were established after the Centers for Disease Control in Atlanta recommended counties prepare an emergency plan to deal with a widespread smallpox outbreak. Texas Department of Health policy requires the location of clinics remain secret, so that clinics do not become targets, Lopez said. The task clinics would face in the case of a smallpox outbreak would be monumental See BIOTERRORISM/3A DAVID INGfUUWHwaW-ZaitungNurse Israel Lopez bioterrorism planner for Comal County Health Department, has developed and planned 12 clinic sites for the county to use in combatting bioterrorism. House map is Sen. Bill Ratliff, R-Mount Pleasant, who said it would eliminate effective representation for his region. “I cannot vote for the House map," Ratliff said. “It obliterates Northeast Tbxas. That is the part of the state that I represent.... Texarkana would be represented by somebody in east Dallas County." Ratliff said if he agrees to support a reworked map and votes to bring it up for debate, he needs assurances it would remain intact and not come back from a House-Senate conference committee looking like the current House plan. See REDISTRICTING^ NBUelectric rates could fall By Dylan Jimenez Staff Writer City utility customers can expect electric bills to fall during the next four years. New Braunfels Utilities plans to use 5-percent annual hikes in water and wastewater fees to decrease electricity rates, according to NBU Chief Financial Officer Donna Todd. Tuesday, NBU Board of Trustees heard a presentation of the* utility’s 2004 budget and its financial operating plan through 2008. The board will act on the budget later this month. Rate increases for water and wastewater will help those divisions become self-sufficient. Profits from the electric division historically have subsidized water and wastewater programs, NBU Communications Manager Gretchen Reuwer said.See UTILITIES/3A Study might help city reduce flooding By Dylan Jimenez Staff Writer A drainage study aimed at reducing flooding in New Braunfels targets 17 potential projects costing $27 million. City council members will use the study’s findings to identify street improvement projects at a workshop next week, City Manager Chuck Pinto said. The projects were ranked based on emergency need, affected population size, future development and awl. The findings also could be used to establish a drainage impact fee for developers. City staff identified 42 recurring drainage problem sites, including low water crossings and areas along the north and south tributaries of the Guadalupe River that run parallel to Interstate 35. The study outlines seven sites along tributaries and creeks that could reduce minor flooding: ■ 14.7 undeveloped acres in the south tributary watershed near Pahlmeyer Dux* in South New Braunfels;See STUDY/3A Pummeled with precipitationHeavy rain snarls traffic, leaves some without lights, but does little for local crops By Ron Maloney Staff Writer An uncommonly dry spring that decimated local crops seems almost a distant memory. In its place are soggy thoughts of recurring rain — and predictions of more showers today. Tuesday’s spotty, tropical showers caused no serious problems, just numerous minor automobile accidents and a few localized power outages. But at least one teenager experienced an uncomfortable 60 minutes stuck in an elevator. In the Bexar County part of Bulverde, fire officials were called ai 2:15 p.m. to Bulverde United Methodist Church, where a short ride in an elevator turned into a long wait for a 13-year-old boy. Church secretary Karen Hughes said the boy was fine. “The electricity came on, and he got out,” Hughes said. New Braunfels Fire Department Battalion Chief Steve Mabe said his crews worked a number of accidents on the interstate and around the city. “People are just sliding into each other. Most were low-speed stuff, with no injuries,” he said. Comal County Road Supervisor Shannon Wagner said there had been no reports of flooding late Tuesday afternoon. See PRECIPITATION/3A DAVID INGRAHVHorakJ Zertung(Above) A couple traveling north on Interstate 35 comforts one another after being involved in a multi-vehide accident near Engle Road overpass Tuesday. New Braunfels Police and Comal County Sheriff’s Deputies reported several weather-related accidents throughout the day. (Left) Traffic backs up on Interstate 35 due to a multi-vehicle accident. National Weather Service officials expect more tropical showers today. (Below) Cars splash through one of many large puddles around New Braunfels. ;