New Braunfels Herald Zeitung (Newspaper) - July 13, 2004, New Braunfels, Texas
f 13, 2004
SPORTS LITTLE LEAGUE
New Braunfels Junior All-Stars win the district title 8-7 against Halletsville, other game results. Pages SA
Readers respond to existing laws and river problems, a drainage utility fee, and giving recognition where it s due. Page
Serving New Braunfels and Comal County since 1852.
Vol. 153, No. 208 10 pages, 1 section
Details .... 6A
DEAR ABBY 8A CLASSIFIEDS 9-10A COMICS 7A CROSSWORD 7A FORUM 4A
OBITUARIES 3A SPORTS 5A TV GRIDS 8APlan temporarily closes parks to tubers
By Scott Mahon
Agreeing that overcapacity crowds Saturday on the Comal River caused a lifethreatening situation, the New Braunfels City Council voted Monday on a contingency plan that would temporarily close city parks to outfitters and tubers.
Mayor Adam Cork placed
an emergency item on Monday’s agenda and said “what happened on the Comal River Saturday (rose) to the level of an emergency. There were entirely too many people on the river which caused a life-threatening situation.”
Because the Guadalupe River was flowing at 5,000 cubic-feet-per-second — too swift for tubers — Guadalupe
River outfitters shuttled tubers to the Comal River Saturday.
By early afternoon Saturday, city officials began asking the outfitters to stop shuttling tubers to the Comal River, according to Stacey Laird, parks director.
However, by mid
noon, hundreds of tubers packed the river at the last exit, forcing officials to ask homeowners for permission to allow tubers to exit the river on private property.
“We didn’t have control, and all it would have taken would have been one person
to panic,” said Police Chief Russ Johnson.
At about 4 p.m., an 18-year-old college student near the last exit suffered an asthma attack and had to be pulled from the river onto the property of Donna and Mike Welch, Johnson said.
Marilyn Ellington of Sugarland said the young woman was tubing with friends.
“She was with my daugh
ter and some friends when she suffered an asthma attack and went under the water.” Ellington said. “Some friends pulled her up. and got her out of the river and onto the bank near the Welch’s home. Then everybody in the river seemed to be trying to get out of the river on the YVelch’s property. It was like a riot, and
See COUNCIL. Page 3A
By Ron Maloney
A 19-year-old New Braunfels man was missing and believed drowned Monday afternoon in the Guadalupe River beneath Interstate 35.
New Braunfels Police Detective Bob Parchman said Stephen Andrew Molina was last seen at about 4:45 p.m. as he slipped beneath the fast-moving water just downstream from the overpasses.
“lies missing and presumed drowned,” Parchman said. “We have the San Marcos Area Recovery Team enroute.”
New Braunfels Fire Department Battalion Chief Don Zercher said rescue firefighter/paramedics put a boat into the water to search for Molina, but he called them off shortly afterward.
"The water’s moving too fast to safely try to put divers in the water,” Zercher said. “We're going to try to get the dam gates shut down to look for him.”
The search by SMART would resume today, Zercher said.
Monday afternoon, the river was running at 5,668 cubic feet-per-sec-ond at the Canyon Reservoir flood control gates as the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers worked to lower the water level in the reservoir, which was 912 feet above mean sea level. Just above the Comal River, the U.S. Geological Survey reported a flow of 5,650 cfs at 6 p.m.
Zercher said Houston Scoutmaster Kevin Tompkins attempted to save Molina.
Tompkins, 45, was on vacation at the nearby RV park with his wife, Pam, and their sons. He said he and his wife were reading while their boys and friends fished nearby.
Four or five boys walked up the
See SEARCH. Page 3A
Photos by MANDY REARY/Herald—Zeitung
New Braunfels Police Officer Chris Culak rides on a jet ski owned by a property owner along the Guadalupe River so that the search for the victim could continue along the brush.
“It's like a freight train. It shows no mercy. It was really scary.”
- Kevin Tompkins About the Guadalupe River.
Family members and friends comfort each other after officials inform them that the search cannot continue for the evening.
Kevin Tompkins, the man who attempted to rescue the victim from the Guadalupe River, gets rescued himself by New Braunfels Fire and Rescue and returned to dry land, where he attempts to shake off some of the water.
Shooting victim remains in stable condition
John Edward Morris
By Ron Maloney
SAN ANTONIO — A Comal County Sheriff’s spokesman said Monday the man shot when he drew a shotgun on a sheriff’s deputy July 6 was in stable condition.
Sheriff’s Lt. Mark Reynolds said John
Edward Morris remained under guard in an intensive care unit at University Hospital in San Antonio.
Morris received three chest wounds when he allegedly attempted to shoot Deputy Brett Smith, who fired six shots at him when he refused to drop the shotgun — and advanced on the officer.
Morris is charged with attempted cap-
In a race with the clock, New Braunfels District 6 Councilman Ken Valentine filed a petition Monday to vote on making the Comal County Fairgrounds a city park.
According to the city charter, City Secretary Michael Resendez has five days to certify the signatures, and council then has IO days to either adopt a resolution designating the property a city park or to put the issue on the November ballot.
Councils next regular meeting is july 26. however, Resendez said he would have the signatures certified before the end of the week, and council could call a special meeting before July 2b.
“We can certify the signatures within a couple of days, Resendez said. "T hen council may call a special meeting Friday, when we’ll formally present the petition to council.
Ken Valentine Howeve; Valentine's petition could be a moot issue if council accepts a proposal offered by Schlitterbahn president Gary Henry.
Henry, who initially proposed swapping a 41-acre tract of land on Loop >37 for the fairgrounds property, said saint day he would withdraw his offer . the city would donate the 30-acre fairgrounds property to the Comal County Fair Association.
Valentine, who opposed I lenry’s initial offer, initiated the petition drive to designate the fairgrounds property a city park, and said the petition tiled Monday contained 1,433 signatures — 1,055 signatures were required.
“I’m concerned there would be some activity by council to prevent this from being put on the Nov. 2 ballot, Valentine said. “Council could call a special meeting before its next regular meeting on lilly 2b.”
CCFA officials Saturday endorsed the suggestion to donate the fairgrounds property to the association.
Adon Hermes, fair association executive
See PETITION, Page 3A
ital murder. His bail is $500,OOO.
Smith, 43, has been cleared by internal investigations and the Department of Public Safety which concluded he acted properly to protect his life. The deputy will return to work this week.
Detectives continue to trace Morris’ movements and investigate his background.
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I missing, presumed drowned
Valentine files petition to vote on land issue
By Scott Mahon
Tour of Faith
Another church is profiled in the weekly series.