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New Braunfels Herald Zeitung (Newspaper) - July 20, 2004, New Braunfels, Texas Vol. 153, No. 214 12 pages, 2 sections CL WWW. ■m E a Sunny, heat index IOO High 97 Details Low 75 ... IB DEAR ABBY 38 CLASSIFIEDS ME COMICS 2B CROSSWORD 28 FORUM 4A OBITUARIES 38 SPORTS BBA TV GRIDS 38 City hears study results By Scott Mahon Staff Writer According to a convention center consultant hired by the New Braunfels City Council, New Braunfels could attract a major segment of the convention business if it had a multi-purpose civic center with a headquarters hotel nearby. Bill Krueger, with Conventions, Sports and Leisure, gave a rapid 45-minute Power Point presentation to the city council Monday, and emphasized that the key to New Braunfels’ success in competing for convention business would be a major hotel with in walking distance of a convention center. Krueger also emphasized the need for a multipurpose facility, including exhibit space, ballroom space and meeting space. “A full-service hotel near the civic center facility would be a critical factor,” he said. Krueger estimated that a 74,000-square-foot civic center would cost about $14 million to construct, and a 102,000-square-foot facility would cost $20 million. “The cost of construction is starting to rise, and interest rates are begin ning to rise,” he said. “So if you commit to a new facility, the sooner you begin construction, the better off you’ll be.” Krueger’s firm was hired in February to study New Braunfels’ convention industry after council agreed to do a feasibility study before expanding the existing civic center or building a new facility. The study cost $60,000. Council could chose to ask Krueger to do a second phase study for $25,000, but council agreed Monday to wait until council members had time to See COUNCIL, Page 3A MANDY REARY/Herakt-Zeitung Bill Krueger goes through slides for the city council detailing a survey done on the use of a new convention center. TUESDAY, JULY 20, 2004 Mg************ All FOR ADC 780 xiii 1000571 05/16/05 SOUTHWEST HICROPI.IBLISHERS 2627 ll VANDELL DR Ll PASO TX 7990? -Zeitung I Serving New Braunfels and Comal County since 1852. SPORTS LITTLE LEAGUE New Braunfels all stars teams have mixed results in games at the Sectionals tournament, highlights from games. Pages SA FORUM LETTERS | Readers applaud efforts of police, I Lake Dunlap fire departments, I Proposition 13, and sudden inter-| est in fairgrounds. Page 4A TCEQ issues Air Quality Health Alert for area By Ron Maloney Staff Writer Today would be a good day to take a deep breath early and hold it — because the air later isn’t expected to be fit to breathe. The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality has issued an Air Quality Health Alert today for the greater San Antonio area. The alert covers Bexar, Comal, Guadalupe and Wilson counties. It is the first time this year officials anticipate the region’s air will be bad enough to represent a health risk. The health standard — 85 parts-per-billion of ground-level ozone or smog in the atmosphere — is likely to be surpassed, officials say. Dorothy Birch, transportation and natural resources specialist with the Alamo Area Council of Governments, said the ozone season got off to a very slow start this year. “By this time last year, we had already had 13 Air Quality Health Alerts,” Birch said. She recommended that people with asthma or emphysema, the elderly and young children stay inside to avoid as much as possible breathing the polluted air. Texas Commission on Environmental Quality Meteorologist Ron Wells declared the alert based on weather conditions Monday and today’s forecast, which calls for a stationary ridge of high pressure. “We’re starting to see elevated ozone numbers today, and we expect them to continue tomorrow,” Wells said. “It’s sunny and hot, we have light winds and we expect the conditions to continue." Wells said the rainy and A I R U 11 A I i T 'nHealth Alert The Texas Commission on Environ mental Quality and the Alamo Area Council of Governments has declared today an Air Quality Health Alert Day. ■ Reduce unnecessary vehicle driving ■ Carpool if possible or combine all errands into one trip ■ Avoid use of 'drive through* lanes or services. ■ Don’t refuel during daylight. ■ Avoid use of gas-powered yard equipment ■ Avoid exterior painting I Pollution levels are posted online at: www tnrcc.state cloudy lune was the reason the area hadn t experienced an Air Quality Health Alert prior to today’s. “Last year, the meteorology was quite different,” Wells said. “That’s the big reason. We had bunches of rain and a lot of clouds, and it just didn’t let our numbers build up.” Now that the pattern has broken, Wells said, San Antonio — and with it New Braunfels — could expect to see more health alert declarations “August and September tend to be the high months.” Wells said. Precinct 2 Commissioner jay Minikin is chairman of the Air Improvement Resources Committee at AACOG. He said no one should take any comfort from going so deep into summer without an Air Quality Health Alert. “I don’t think we’re polluting any less than we did last See ALERT. Page 3A Accident leaves I in critical condition By Ron Maloney Staff Writer A l()-year-o!d New Braunfels boy suffered life-threatening injuries Monday afternoon in a traffic collision on Common Street. A University Hospital spokesman said Zachary Vestal, IO, was being treated in the trauma center for injuries sustained in the 3:15 p.m. accident in the 1500 block of East Common Street. He was in critical condition Monday evening. His sister, Amanda, 8, and mother, Donna, 43, were listed in stable condition. Police Sgt. Craig Christopherson said the accident occurred when Vestal’s Dodge minivan, which was eastbound on Common Street, made a left turn into the parking lot at New Braunfels Pediatric Associates and New Braunfels Pediatric Dental Associates in front of a 2001 Ford F-150 pickup driven by a 47-year-old New Braunfels woman. The pickup struck the minivan in the passenger’s side. The pickup driver was uninjured. “She said she did not have time to hit the brakes,” Christopherson said. The driver of the pickup told police she had just looked at her speedometer and was traveling at 43 mph when the accident occurred. Fire Department Acting Capt. Mike Wellman said firefighters arrived to find three physicians working over the boy who, they reported, had gone into traumatic cardiac arrest after the accident, which ripped off the minivan’s passenger side sliding door. “We started advanced life support procedures with the help of the doctors,” Wellman said. The girl was taken into the nearby dental office and treated there. An Air Life medical helicopter was See WRICK. Page 3A Photos by DAVID INGRAM/Herald-Zeitung New Braunfels Fire and EMS personnel help the crew of an Air Life helicopter load 8-year-old Amanda Vestal after the van she was in was involved in an accident in the 1500 block of East Common Street Monday afternoon. (Left) Donna Vestal is overcome with emotion while being lowered onto a stretcher before being transported to University Hospital. Vestal s van was struck on the passenger side by a pickup truck in the 1500 block of East Common Monday afternoon. Vestal s son and daughter were transported by separate Air Life helicopters to the same hospital. New Braunfels police officers prepare to start their investigation into the cause of a twovehicle accident that sent three occupants of this minivan to University Hospital. COMING FRIDAY Tour of Faith Another church is profiled in the weekly series of churches around the county. Food bank experiencing summer shortages By Scott Mahon Staff Writer Melissa, a single mother with four small children, waited patiently Monday at the Spirit of Sharing Food Bank for a 50-pound box of food containing canned goods, beans, meat, sugar, flour and rice. She just moved back to New Braunfels from Oklahoma, she said. Her tonner husband, who she said was in jail somewhere, doesn’t pay child support. “I’m trying to find a job, but Ive no one to watch the kids, and I don’t have a car,” she said. “So it s hard.” Without any income, the food she picked up will help get her by, so she seemed grateful. Eddie picks up a U* at the food bank once a month for his grandmother. “Shes 84 years old, and all she has is Social Security," he said. “So about the middle of the month, she starts to run out of money. This really helps her.” In a back room, Frances Divine was helping pack the boxes of food, which contain meat, bread, sweets and canned goods. Divine, 82, is just one of the many volunteers who work one day a week at the food bank, located at 248 West Mer-riweather. She’s been a volunteer for 20 years. last month, the food bank See POOS. Page 3A DID YOU ANvWi HOW TO KELP Food donations can be made from 1 to 4 p.m.. Monday through Friday, at the SOS Food Bank building at 248 W. Merriweather St. For information, call Tom Barrett at 627-2853, or 832-0681. ;