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New Braunfels Herald Zeitung (Newspaper) - July 18, 2000, New Braunfels, Texas New® FELS Herald-Zl Water Restrictions ■ New Braunfels Utilities customers with addresses ending in 0.1 or 2 can water today after 7 p.m. Well users with addresses ending in 2 or 3 can water today after 8 p.m. i i'- J kl ■'N in I A .G ;' ' *   ti. _____ Vol. 149 No. 175    14    pages    in    2    sections    July    18,    2000 Tuesday Serving Comal County since 1852 50 cents McKenna changes with times, community K. JESSIE SLATEN/Herald-Zeitung McKenna Health System has changed its look — and its services - since first opening in 1953. By Heather Todd Staff Writer When New Braunfels Community Hospital opened its doors Nov. 2, 1953 it had 40 beds and seven physicians on the medical staff. Today, the hospital, which changed to McKenna Memorial Hospital in 1973, has doubled in size, provides Second in a Series McKenna 2000: Prognosis for hope T oe J more than I OO beds and has more than 800 personnel on staff. Today, McKenna is a private, not-for-profit, acute-care facility primarily funded on patient revenue. “What we bill or collect is what we’re funded by,” McKenna Health System CEO Tim Brierty said. The hospital also gets a portion of Medicare reimbursement, a percentage of funding from patients who have insurance, Medicaid and revenue from private pay clients. In addition to internal changes, Brierty said the health care industry has also seen massive changes in Medicare reimbursement and man aged care. Health insurance has evolved to the point that health care is not as preventative as it once was, he said. Patients are not admitted into hospitals until the later stages of their illnesses. “Insurance companies are saying people need to try a few more things outside of a hospital before they can See MCKENNA/4A Wolf/dog’s day in court Jurors today to meet the By Ron Maloney Staff Writer The dog — or wolf or wolf-dog mix — at the center of a tug-of-war between a Startzville man and Comal County will appear today on its own behalf in a case that will decide whether it must find a new home. “Shadow,” the 5-year-old family pet of Jim and Sherry Higdon and their three children, will be brought to County Court of Law about lunch time so six jurors can meet her for themselves up close and personal if they wish. “Some might want to pet the dog and some might not,” Judge Brenda Freeman said. Monday, county animal control and New Braunfels Humane Society officials described their contacts with the disputed dogAvclf in testimony that opened Higdons trial on the Class C misdemeanor offense of keeping a w ild animal in the county within 1,000 feet of a residence or school. Shadow lives in the Higdon family home. Tile trial is an appeal of Higdon’s earlier conviction in Pct. 4 Justice of the Peace court. If he loses, Higdon could pay a fine K. JESSIE SLATEN/Herald-Zeitung Is Shadow a dog or a wolf? A Comal County Court-at-Law jury is being asked to decide whether Shadow needs to find a new home. of up to $500. Comal County animal control officer Tim Brinkkoeter described Monday going to the Higdon home and picking up the animal which had gotten loose and was unchained — after it reportedly killed two pet chickens . Higdon, acting as his own law yer, asked Brinkkoeter if the dog appeared to offer any kind of threat to him when he picked it up, using a safety loop device. See WOLF/DOG/5A County sets burn ban From Staff Reports Comal County commissioners called for a burn ban Monday, prohibiting outdoor fires for 90 days — unless weather conditions change. Comal County Fire Marshal Lin Manford said commissioners outlawed all outdoor fires except those in containers that contain all flames and sparks and except for campfires less than three feet in diameter. In the first exception, Manford said, folks need to ensure that sparks don’t escape from their burning container. “If they burn garbage and sparks go in the air and hot embers get in the grass, we could have a catastrophe,” Manford said. The campfire exception, he noted, would enable Boy Scouts and other campers to cook and so forth. Violations of the ban w ill be a Class C misdemeanor, and could result in a $500 fine. Council to consider delay in annexation proceedings From staff reports New Braunfels City Council will consider postponing annexation proceedings during a public hearing Wednesday. Council has two remaining public hearings scheduled to discuss the possible annexation of 8.5 square miles in IO areas around the city. One hearing is 6:30 p.m. Wednesday at the Southbank Subdivision Clubhouse, 222 Southbank Blvd. The Final hearing, requested by Hunters Creek residents, is 6:30 p.m. Thursday at Oak Run School, 415 Timber Hollow. The city conducted its first public hearing on annexation this past week. At that session, the Hunters Creek subdivision and others asked for a delay in the annexation process while they gather more information. The areas being considered for annexation are: T Bar M/Mission Valley Road; Hunters Creek; Northwoods; Common Street/Orion Drive; Kowald Lane/FM 110; Alves Lane/Barbarosa Road; Stonegate; Southbank; Klein Road and FM 1044 and Schmucks Road/Engle Road. Inside Abby......................... .......7 A Classifieds.................. ...4-6B Comics....................... .......8A Crossword................. .......7 A Forum......................... .......6A Local/Metro................. .......4A Movies......................... .......7A Obituaries................... .......3A Sports........................ ...1-3B Today......................... .......2A Television...................... 8A www.herald-zeitung com Key Code 76 Accident at IHOP injures mom, 4-year-old By Fred Blevens Staff Writer A mother and her 4-year-old daughter were injured Sunday in a noontime parking lot accident at the International House of Pancakes, 817 E. Interstate 35. Witnesses said the mother and daughter were hit as they walked across the parking lot in front of a Sunday overflow lunch crowd. Cars were parked on the grass skirting the curb on busy Business 35. The unidentified driver of the light-colored full-size vehicle was described by w itnesses as an elderly woman who, they said, apparently mistook the accelerator for the brake pedal, knocking the pair to the pavement. Witnesses said the woman apparently then drove over the little girl with two tires. Becky Burgess, a Duke Energy employee visiting town with 150 members of the Texas A&M Former Students Association, said she was following the woman into the IHOP parking lot about 11:30 a m. “She was driving very, very slowly down the street and into the parking lot,” Burgess said. Other witnesses standing in the parking lot said the cat was pulling into a parking space and was about halfway into a spot when the car suddenly accelerated. Burgess said she and others quickly moved their vehicles from the parking lot to make way for emergency vehicles. “The w hole thing seemed to happen in an instant,” she said. “I drove around the lot looking for a place to park and by the time I got around, the ambulance was there. It was incredible response time.” New Braunfels police declined to give details of the accident or identify the victims and driver. Other sources indicated the girl was transported by helicopter to a San Antonio hospital for treatment of injuries that were not considered life-threatening. The mother suffered minor injuries. Hospital condition reports are not released on patients without a name. get the chance animal up close New man on campus OakRun’s Mike Fitsko assumes helm as NBHS principal K. JESSIE SLATEN/Herald-Zeitung Mike Fitsko, the new principal at New Braunfels High School, roams the halls Monday, adjusting to his new job and responsibilities. Fitsko said he now has new fodder for his weekly column in the Herald-Zeitung. By Heather Todd Staff Writer Looking at photographs of New Braunfels High School students posted along the school’s main hallway, new NBHS principal Mike Fitsko can recognize and name many of the faces. He should — many of them walked the halls as sixth-graders at OakRun 6th Grade Center during Fitsko’s six-year tenure as campus principal. When Fitsko takes the helm at NBHS this fall, his first class of sixth-graders will enter their senior year and, next spring, he will watch as his first students in New Braunfels “Its a wonderful opportunity that the first group of students I had as sixth-graders are going to he seniors."Mike Fitsko NBHS principal Independent School District get their high school diplomas. “It’s v wonderful opportunity that the first group of students I had as sixth-graders are going to be seniors. It’s really an exciting thing for me to watch them grow” he said. “Seldom does one get the opportunity to follow students from the sixth grade all the way to graduation.” NBISD Superintendent Ron Reaves named Fitsko as principal Monday after the resignation of Keith Garinger, who was hired as director of human resources at Seguin Independent School District. S1SD trustees approved Garinger’s appointment this past week and he officially resigned July 13. NBISD officials had to find a replacement for Garinger before the first day of school Aug. 27.See FITSKO/5A ;