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New Braunfels Herald Zeitung Newspaper Archives

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New Braunfels Herald Zeitung (Newspaper) - July 20, 2000, New Braunfels, Texas New® NFELSWater Restrictions ■ New Braunfels Utilities customers with addresses ending in 6, 7, 8 or 9 can water today before 9 a.m. and after 7 p.m. Well users with addresses ending in 6 or 7 can water today • in s, m and after 8 p.m.Herald-Ze I I Ui Vol. 149 No. 177    14    pages    in    2    sections    July    20,    2000 Thursday Serving Comal County since 1852 50 cents Charity care and bad debts Throughout the past decade, McKenna has had to write off an increasing amount of funds not collected. 1991 I 1992 1993 I 1994 1995 I 1996 .1997 1998 1999 Charity Care 361,252 278,726 982,618 1,960,637 1,713,237 1,933,431 2,307,097 3,038,580 4,450,373 Bad Debts 1,705,663 2,819,806 2,271,023 2,227,638 3,019,396 4,113,299 4,253,626 4,720,693 7,280,034 TOTAL 2,066,915 3,098,532 3,253,641 4,188,275 4,732,633 6,046,730 6,560,723 7,759,273 11,730,407 Unpaid bills cost McKenna CHRIS KOURI/Herald-Zeitung By Jo Lee Ferguson Staff Writer Each year, McKenna Memorial Hospital loses more and more money to unpaid hospital bills. The New Braunfels hospital believes in its mission to provide free care, or charity care, to those who truly cannot pay for it themselves. However, a separate cate- Fourth in a Series McKenna 2000: Prognosis for hope x? J gory of unpaid hospital bills is costing McKenna millions of dollars each year. The hospital is required to provide charity care each year that amounts to at least 5 percent of its net revenues, said Tim Brier-ty, president and chief executive officer of McKenna Health Systems. However, some people do not qualify for charity care and still do not pay their bills. Others who probably would qualify for charity care do not apply for it. “Everybody gets a bill from See MCKENNAN Little League player tagged for dad’s talk By Fred Blevens Staff Writer For about two weeks, 12-year-old Chad Whitley’s baseball life has been punctuated by the reallife equivalent of a single, double, homerun and balk. He hit a clean single by being called up from the New Braunfels Blue All-Stars second team to play on the first squad. He tagged a double by playing four positions in several tournament games. He and his 11 teammates hit a homer by playing well enough to secure a spot in the Little League sectional tournament tonight in Austin. But a balk after the homer suspended Chad’s fairy-tale season when a handful of adults debated whether he should lose his spot on the team over the Little League’s zero tolerance policy on bad behavior. Late Wednesday, the board of the New Braunfels Little League reversed its decision to remove Chad from the team. The board instead reinstated him with a series of conditions that limit his playing time to the league’s minimum and allow for his removal for bad behavior by Chad or his parents. Chad’s parents, Briana and James Whitley, said they are pleased that Chad will be traveling to Austin with the team, but disturbed by a ruling that places blame on their son. The Whitleys said a conflict arose between James Whitley and coach David Covington after the Blue team defeated Yoakum on Sunday to capture the North Zone championship that put the team in the sectional. The men argued J tunes Whitley said and the coach requested that Chad be thrown off the team for “parental disruption.” On Sunday, the Whitleys said they were assured that if they agreed not to cause any disturbances, Chad could play. That position changed on Tuesday, Briana Whitley said. “The board told Chad that it was unhealthy for him and for the team for him to be around because he had been feeding misinformation to James,” Briana Whitley said in an interview Wednesday. The Whitleys said they offered to skip the team’s future games if Chad were allowed to play. “We couldn’t believe they were punishing Chad for something he didn’t do,” she said. League president John Ellis, noting that it was the Whitleys who “instigated” a news story, said he was not going to talk about the details of the dispute. “It think it’s a bad thing it ever happened,” Ellis said. “There’s no good outcome to something like this. Our board is not out to punish a kid.” Briana Whitley said the board’s decision was expedited Wednesday night in part because of fears the Whitley’s would seek a court injunction to stop the team from participating in the tournament without Chad. Such action likely would result in a forfeit by the Blue team. The Whitleys said Ellis told them that they could not “confront” other parents, players or coaches and that Covington has the authority to eject Chad at any time during the tournament. Chad Whitley jubilantly went to practice with his teammates Wednesday night, less than an hour after Ellis informed the family he could play. But he may have been the only happy party in the whole See LEAGUERS Annexation reprieve K. JESSIE SLATEN/Herald-Zeitung Southbank resident Berney Turner (center) and wife Shirley showed up with “Annexation NO” signs at Wednesday evening’s city council meeting.Southbank meeting. The crowd at Southbank community center extended into the hallway Wednesday evening as the city council meeting discussed proposed annexation of several areas around New Braunfels. By Jo Lee Ferguson Staff Writer The New Braunfels City Council granted a reprieve Wednesday to people living in IO areas the city targeted for annexation. The council unanimously voted to postpone annexation proceedings for a year to give residents in those areas time to negotiate a voluntary annexation with the city. Councilwoman Debbie Flume was absent. Councilman Larry Alexander led the council’s move to grant the year extension. “There were so many people who had concerns,” he said. “People didn’t have enough information.” Also, he said he was not convinced that the city could provide the required services to those. He wanted to give the city more time to work on a plan to provide those services to the areas that are not voluntarily annexed within the next year. Alexander said, however, that the council could begin involuntary annexation proceedings after a year for those areas that have not agreed to voluntary annexation. New Braunfels has been considering annexing 8.5 square miles in IO areas around outside the city’s limits in its extra-territorial jurisdiction. The area includes 835 homes and an estimated 2,321 people, city staff' said. The targeted areas are: T Bar M/Mission Valley Road; Hunters Creek; Northwoods; Common Street/Orion Drive; Kowald Lane/FM See ANNEXATION/3A What’s Up SMK — ■ WHAT: Mayor Stoney Williams said a scheduled public hearing today on annexation is canceled. The meeting was to be held at Oak Run School. Williams said the public hearing is not necessary at this time. Water price rising By Ron Maloney Staff Writer SEGUIN — The cost of water stored in Canyon Lake for sale to downstream municipal and industrial users will rise 15 percent this fall from $61 to $69 per acre foot. The Guadalupe-Bianco River Authority, which has been eyeing a price hike for months to cover projected costs for management, flood control and infrastructure expenses, voted for the rate increase at its Wednesday board meeting. The increase will go into effect on Oct. I New Braunfels Utilities, which meets 75 percent of its water needs through its surface water treatment plant supplied through Canyon Lake via the Gaudalupe River, will see its costs for that water rise by $53,760 per year, said NBU assistant general manager, Roger Biggers. “We’d been aware they were talking about doing it.” NBU gets 6,720 acre-feet of water per year from Canyon Lake. An acre-foot of water is the amount of water it takes to cover an acre of land to a depth of one foot or 325,851 gallons. “It’s definitely going to be an added cost for our water system,” Biggers said.See LAKE/7A Inside Abby......................... .......5A Classifieds.................. ....4-6B Comics....................... .......3B Crossword................. ......5A Forum......................... ......6A Local Metro................ .......4 A Movies......................... .......5A Obituaries................... .......3A Sports........................ ...1-2B Today......................... .......2A Television....................... .......3B www.herald-zeitung com Key Code 76 WORD to study tube tax By Ron Maloney Staff Writer SATTLER — Wednesday was a night for floating new ideas. The Comal C ounty Water-Oriented Recreation District is looking at a couple of proposals that if adopted are a departure from the way the body has traditionally done business on the Guadalupe River. One, which was on the meeting agenda, is to explore the feasibility of charging people w ho use their ow n tubes or equipment for recreation on the Guadalupe River the $1 WORD tax now added into rental prices charged by outfitters. It will be studied by WORD’S governmental affairs committee The second was not on the agenda but was no less original. During the public comment portion of the meeting, an employee of outfitter and WORD board member Zero Rivers proposed that WORD pay the Guadalupe-Bianco River Authority to raise the river flow by I (K) cubic feet per second over the four day Labor Day holiday. Wednesday, the outflow from Canyon Lake through the Guadalupe River was 50 CFS. Inflow at the other end of the lake, according to a GBRA official, was 7 CFS. Lake level was 905.06 ft. above mean sea level Were the idea to be adopted by the board, a special meeting would have to be called in earl) August for it to be considered after the WORD board attorney returns from a trip to Europe. Kevin Webb, an employee at Rockin’ R River Rides, which is owned by Rivers, said he would liven up the meeting when his turn to talk came at the end of the agenda, during the public comment part of the program. And he did.See TUBE TAX/7A ;