New Braunfels Herald Zeitung (Newspaper) - July 11, 2003, New Braunfels, Texas
FRIDAY July ll, 2003
14 pages in 2 sections
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Vol. 152, No. 205
Serving New Braunfels and Comal County since 1852
House OKs bills that expand governor’s powers
| SPECIAI Jfc SESSION
On the Web
Texas Legislative Council: www.tlc.state.tx.us
By April Castro and Kelley Shannon
Associated Press Writers
AUSTIN — The Tfexas governorship, widely regarded as a weak office, could gain some power under House bills approved Thursday.
Some Democrats objected, saying the moves diminish legislators’ input.
“It’s an issue of balance of power,” said Rep. Pete Gallego, D-Alpine.
The bills next move to the Senate for consideration.
In a non-record voice vote, the House approved a bill to abolish the Office*of State-Federal Relations and put that authority under the governor.
Critics claimed the move pre
vents the Legislature’s involvement. Supporters said streamlining is needed for Tfexas to get a better share of federal funds.
“It’s like being the daddy of the household. Somebody’s got to have the checkbook. Everybody can’t be writing out of it, or the durned thing doesn’t balance,” said Rep. Carter Casteel, R-New Braunfels, the bill’s author.
Other approved bills would:
■ allow the governor to skip Senate confirmation when appointing an insurance commissioner by reducing the term to one year and changing the post’s qualifications;
■ allow the governor to name the presiding officer of most boards governing state agencies, with a few exceptions; and
■ give the governor more time at the start of regular legislative sessions to present a budget proposal. Currently budget recommendations must be presented by the sixth day of the session.
One bill Perry has pushed that didn’t win passage Thursday would have created a law to keep his office’s budget working documents away from public view.
Ethics rule change nixes provision for financial damages
By Dylan Jim£nez
People who squeal on unethical conduct won’t be out a dime for filing groundless accusations, under a proposed revision to the city’s ethics ordinance.
“It is my opinion that not this body nor the city council has the authority to award attorney fees,” City Attorney Charlie Zech said. “In my mind, its damages, and the only body that has the authority to award damages is a court.”
Zech and the commission decided to delete a section of the current ordinance that allows attorney fees to be awarded to a defendant of an ethics complaint that is ungrounded and meant to harass.
It was the only revision the group did not completely agree on as they took a closer look at the city’s ethics
Commission member John Mathis said Thursday he was uncomfortable with part of a decision made in January that ordered former ethics commission member James Patrick to pay attorney fees for filing a complaint against former City Councilwoman Debbie Flume.
Member Antionette Peters said some provision should be in place to guard against claims meant to harass.
The commission is an on-call body that makes recommendations to council on ethical questions regarding city officials and staff. The city
Extension office closes to move into new space
At a glance
By Ron Maloney Staff Writer
The Comal County office of the Texas Cooperative Extension Service closes next week while it moves into its new home off Texas 46.
The Extension service is moving to a building on property the county purchased in February behind the road department and rural recycling center.
“July 14 through 18 our office will be closed,” county Extension Agent Pat Rasor said in a news release. “We will not be answering phoney or able to assist with walk-in questions. Our files, brochures, computers, etc. will all be boxed up for the week.”
The Extension service reopens at its new location
The Texas Cooperative Extension Service will be closed next week while it relocates to Texas 46. It reopens July 21. Telephone service will not be restored until July 28. In the interim, e-mail [email protected]
at 8 a.m. July 21 — but telephone service will not be set up until July 28. The telephone number will remain the same, (830) 620-3440.
When the move is complete, its former facility, located on Water Lane adjacent to the Comal County Sheriff s Office, will be renovated, according to Capt. Dennis Koepp.
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Playground manufacturer has kids at heart
Theresa Stonefort paints “Rocky Raccoon" on a mural inside Backyard Adventures Thursday afternoon. When the store opens in August, it will sell everything from redwood playscapes to basketball goals.
By Sean Bowlin
A new local business has thrown out the “all work, no play” concept. At Backyard Adventures, play is their work.
The national outdoor equipment factory store plans to open Aug. I in the old Gym-N-I building, 19801-35 N.
Janet Sammann, Backyard Adventures South Texas area manager, said the store will feature a children’s play area and a large showroom spaa? bordered with a fun mural.
The parent company, Backyard Adventures, also has a store in Schertz and has set up
locations in several U.S. cities, as well as Canada and Great Britain.
Sammann said many of the playscapes have interchangeable parts, such as forts with different decks and bases.
‘Tou can also add rock walks, different sizes of slides and beams to them. They’re modular,” Sammann said.
A commercial line of play equipment that will be sold to parks and schools also will be displayed.
Other displays include a line of anchored basketball hoops, snap-together athletic flooring, trampolines, barbecue grills, patio furniture and above
In the back of the store will be an air-oonditioned birthday party area.
Thats going to be really nice,” Sammann said.
Sammann said she hopes to host field trips, where children can learn playground safety tips.
“We’d like to be very active in the community with the kids because that’s what we do,” Sammann said.
Sammann also plans “Stranger Danger” classes, possibly on the field trips.
“(Children are) safe in their backyards, but when they step out, it’s a whole other world out there,” Sammann said.
Photos by K JESSIE SLATEWHerald-Zeitung
(Top) Dave Larson and his band perform a few songs for the youngsters in the crowd Thursday night during the Concerts in the Park series at the Landa Park dance slab. The concerts take place from 7:30 to 10 p.m. Thursdays throughout the summer and showcase a variety of local musical acts.
(Left) Hannah. Elizabeth and Emily Hancock (from left) were among those who jumped at the chance to do the Chicken Dance.