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New Braunfels Herald Zeitung (Newspaper) - July 19, 2001, New Braunfels, Texas New Braunfels THURSDAY July 19, 2001 14 pages in 2 sections T T    r~WHerald-Zeitung r--- L .......—  .--—*—-.....    ,.v- Vol. ISO, No. 214 ..... - ...... ... —   —— Serving New Braunfels and Comal County since 1852 50 cents Scheel: GERA betrays county with trout deal By Martin Malacara Staff Writer Comal County Commissioners’ Court voted unanimously Wednesday to oppose a recent agreement between Guadalupe-Bianco River Authority and Guadalupe River Trout Unlimited. And a representative for Friends of Canyon Lake said legal action might be taken by that organization. County Judge Danny Scheel called an emergency meeting Wednesday afternoon to address the agreement, which he said would put Canyon Lake at a greater risk of experiencing lower lake levels. On Tuesday, GBRA and GRTU agreed to minimum daily releases from Canyon Lake for each day during the months of May through September will be made. Basically, release levels would be up to twice the federal requirements of90 to IOO cubic feet of water per second. In exchange for the release levels, Trout Unlimited agreed to file a joint motion with GBRA to remand its contested case hearing from the State Office of Adminis trative Hearings back to the Tfexas Natural Resource Conservation Commission. This would clear the way for GBRA to pursue amending its state permit to draw 90,000 acre-feet from Canyon Lake to supply water for the region. Currently, GBRA is permitted to draw 50,000 acre-feet from the lake. An acre-foot equals 325,851 gallons. Scheel said he believed the county was betrayed by GBRA because the river authority asked Commissioners’ Court for help in quashing opposition to its permit amendment. In exchange, the county agreed in 1999 to support GBRA’s efforts, provided it would consult the county on plans to take more water out of the lake when the lake’s level is above its conservation storage pool, or 909 feet above mean sea level. Scheel said he believed GBRA violated that agreement when it made the deal with Trout Unlimited. “Over two years GBRA romanced us. I can tell you I feel like the biggest fool in the county. GBRA has lost credibility in this court,”See DEALBA Jury sides with owner in race trial By Ron Maloney Staff Writer MARION — The only reason for Wednesday night at River City Raceway is the grudge races in which local kids who “run what they brung” compete for bragging rights. But the biggest winners at the controversial Marion drag strip Wednesday were its owners, who won a grudge match of their own — one that threatened to close the track. A Guadalupe County jury decided after nearly six hours of deliberation over two days that Todd Zampese’s race track isn’t a nuisance to its neighbors. While the jury deliberated, Zampese and his attorney offered again, win or lose, to go into mediation with his neighbors. Zampese hopes to try to work out an agreement so residents might enjoy some level of comfort with their loud neighbor — and so Zampese doesn’t spend more time in court. Don Morgan, visiting judge for the 25th Judicial District Court, will issue an order that both sides enter into mediation.See LAWSUIT/7 A City keeping Shands until end of month By Amy Clarkson Staff Writer At the end of July, City Manager Mike Shands officially retires from city government. To replace him, the city council voted Wednesday night to hire an interim city manager until a permanent replacement can be found. After meeting in closed session, the city council voted unanimously to retain Shands as a consultant for 90 days and said he could retire at the end of July. As a consultant, Shands can help train an interim city manager and his replacement — but will no longer be an active part of the city government. Shands, who has been city manager for nearly seven years, announced his decision to retire last week. The council agreed to hire an interim manager, and after a long annexation public hearing Wednesday night, went backSee SHANDS/7A Inside Abby.......................... ......5A Classifieds................... ...4-6B Comics........................ ......8A Crossword.................. ......5A Forum.......................... ......6A Local/Metro................. ......4A Movies.......................... ......5A Obituaries.................... ......3A Sports......................... ...1-3B Today........................... 2A I I I com Key Code 76 Rubble hindering investigation of fire that destroyed Seguin store By Ron Maloney Staff Writer SEGUIN — Officials could offer little new insight Wednesday into what caused the fire that destroyed a historic Seguin hardware store and two other businesses. John Winn, chief investigator with the State Fire Marshal’s Office, said salvage workers and investigators were experiencing “pretty slow going” in the rubble of Vivroux Hardware on South Austin Street. A preliminary estimate placed damages of the two-story, brick building at $500,000. Contents of the store were estimated at another $250,000, but those figures did not include losses in other businesses or apartments, Winn said. The 132-year-old business, adjacent antique and coffee shops and storage and apartments upstairs were destroyed in an early morning fire fought Tuesday by Seguin and seven other departments, including New Braunfels. “At this point, we’ve found nothing that makes us suspicious,” Winn said. But it was too early to rule the fire accidental, he added. At this stage, investigators cannot get to the place where the fire is believed to have started because the roof of the building collapsed. Winn said a team of IO investigators and a dog trained to sniff for flammable liquids worked in the building much of Wednesday, but could not yet get to the area where the fire started. Fire investigators currently theorize the fire started horn an electrical source. The building, built in 1904, was wired with old copper electrical cabling that melts at 1,200 degrees, Winn said. When Seguin firemen smashed their way inside shortly after their 4:40 a.m. call Tuesday, the fire “flashed over” on them, Winn said. That explosive phenomenon, essentially a firestorm in a burning building, happens when oxygen is introduced to superheated gasses inside a confined area. The temperature required to cause that, he said is 2,000 degrees— more than ample to melt the suspect wiring. “We could work four or five days and not find the cause,” Winn said. “The problem with a fire investigation is that fire destroys a lot of what we’re looking for.”Annexation (Above) The city council prepares to vote on annexation motions as a packed room looks on. (Right) Rick Upton, left, and xxxxxxx Haas speak during a break at Wednesday night’s public hearing. Both men spoke against the city’s attempt to annex their neighborhoods. K. JESSIE SLATEN/Heralld-Zeitungangst Split council vote keeps annexation going full-steam By Amy Clarkson Staff Writer In a narrow vote, the New Braunfels City Council decided to continue with the annexation process after a public hearing Wednesday night. After listening to residents of 12 areas targeted for annexation argue against the process, the council voted 4-3 in favor of continuing the process. Councilman Robert Kendrick spearheaded the motion to stop the process and said he was opposed to annexation of any sort. ‘I think annexation causes urban sprawl,” he said. “That’s what annexation is, the sprawl of a city. I oppose annexation of any sort. I have a concern about the moral obligation to offer equal services to all, and we’re not doing - to slvTmon1 “And Fve been hear-ey.”    ing a lot tonight Council about taxation Julietb\Vau without representation and Deb- tionl You don’t pay hie Flume taxes right now, so joined    j    .    . » Kendrick in dont vote. his opposition    Stoney    Williamsto annexa-    New Braunfels    mayor tion.    - Mayor Stoney Williams and council members Larry Alexander, Lee Rodriguez and Sonia Munoz voted in favor of continuing the annexation process. Two more public hearings are scheduled for areas one and ll Tuesday, July 24. The first reading of the ordinance is set for Monday, August 13. “I respectfully disagree with Mr. Kendrick,” Williams told the crowd late Wednesday night. “I think without annexation, cities stagnate and die. If we don’t do this, then we are doing a disservice to the people of New Braunfels — the people who voted us into office.” “And I’ve been hearing a lot tonight about taxation without representation,” he continued. “You don’t pay taxes right now, so you don’t vote. Once you are annexed, you will have representation on council. That’s not taxation without representation, that argument doesn’t hold water with me.” The council voted to authorize city staff members to start voluntary annexation negotiations with the Southbank subdivision after the public hearing as well, t Before the public hearing, the councilSee ANNEXATIONS ;