New Braunfels Herald Zeitung (Newspaper) - July 25, 2001, New Braunfels, Texas
_ T „ WEDNESDAYNew Braunfels july 25,2001
_ 14 pages in 2 sectionsHerald-Zeitung
... ■■■■■....... -^v 1 ■' ■■■ ,..... -Vol, 150, No. 219 Serving New Braunfels and Comal County since 1852 50 cents
Board votes for plan favoring Republicans
By KELLEY SHANNONAssociated Press Writer
AUSTIN (AP) — Three of the state’s highest-ranking Republicans voted together Tuesday as the Legislative Redistricting Board
approved redistricting plans heavily favoring the GOP in the House and Senate.
The panel adopted Land Commissioner David
Dewhurst’s Senate plan on a 3-2 vote, with Republicans Dewhurst, state Comptroller Carole Keeton Rylander and Attorney General John Cornyn voting in favor.
The same Republican bloc pushed through Cornyn’s House plan 3-2.
Acting Lt. Gov. Bill Ratliff, also a Republican, and House Speaker Pete Laney, the lone Democrat on the panel, voted against the legislative plans that were adopted.
Ratliff, who presides over the Senate, had favored his own Republican-leaning plan for that chamber.
Dewhurst said he felt his Senate plan was better than one by Rylander that would have meant a “massive dislocation of incumbents.’'
City redistricting plan aims to keep numbers in line
By Ron MaloneyStaff Writer
New Braunfels City Council got its first look Monday night at a proposal for redrawing the political map of New Braunfels.
Council also found out that annexation plans would affect the way local political precincts and city council districts will look next year.
Mike Morrison, Baylor University law professor and consultant with the Waco firm of Guinn and Morrison, presented council with preliminary report on redistricting.
Included was a computergenerated map of New Braunfels and six proposed new city council districts that closely follow the existing boundaries.
The new map meets all legal requirements by equalizing populations in the districts and protecting minority voting blocs, Morrison said.
All political redistricting goes to the U.S. Justice Department for review.
“Each district must have
as close to the same number of people as possible,” he said. “This plan does that.”
District Two council member Larry Alexander’s district would see the biggest population change under the Guinn and Morrison plan. Alexander’s district, which now includes 8,433 residents, 6,026 of voting age, will have to be shrunk the most to reach a target population of 6,082.
Under the preliminary plan, as shown Monday afternoon, Alexander’s district would have 6,078 residents — 4,438 of voting age. His district, now 72 percent Anglo and about 25 percent Hispanic, would become 77 percent Anglo and 20 percent Hispanic.
In Debbie Flume’s District Three, the population will grow from 5,586 to 5,908 under the proposal. Her district will drop from 87 percent Anglo to 84 percent, and the Hispanic population will increase from IO percent toSee REDISTRICTING/5A
Train cars go ‘nuts’
22,000 gallons of peanut oil spill in a 21-car train derailment near Bracken.
K. JESSIE SLATEN/Herald-Zeitung
Union Pacific employees work to restore the tracks in Bracken before they can start clearing the overturned cars and debris from Monday’s derailment. Although 21 cars left the tracks, a tanker filled with peanut oil was the only thing to leak into the surrounding area.Peanut oil only thing spilled in train derailment
By Ron Maloney Staff Writer
BRACKEN — Lights and sirens invaded the small town of Bracken late Monday after 21 railroad cars derailed, forcing the evacuation of homes and businesses in the area amid fears of a hazardous chemical spill.
Turns out the chemical was hazardous only to those who are allergic to peanuts — 22,000 gallons of peanut oil leaked onto the ground.
“Even though it’s an oil you use in food manufacture, you have to clean it up,” Union Pacific spokesman Mark Davis said. “It’ll be vacuumed up or dug out of the dirt.”
Officials still do not know what caused the accident, which occurred on Union Pacific railroad tracks behind Bracken Feed, off
Bracken Drive. Nobody was injured.
The 110-car train was traveling from Ft. Worth to San Antonio when the accident occurred, Davis said. Ten of the cars contained peanut oil, two of which leaked their contents onto the ground. One was filled with seed, another scrap paper and the other nine were empty, Davis said.
The wreck caused minimal damage to an adjacent side track, Davis said, so the 25 trains each day that go through the site were able to proceed after IO a.m. Tues
day — albeit slowly.
About 125 workers on Tuesday were replacing 1,200 feet of track, he said.
‘They’re hoping to be finished by 8 p.m. (Tuesday),” Davis said.
Cause of the accident, he said, was still under investigation.
Bracken Volunteer Fire Department Capt. Bill Anz said 18 firefighters and 21 members of eight area public safety agencies responded to the incident a little before 9 p.m. Monday.
Comal County dispatched an initial disaster response as firefighters, deputies and a Department of Public Safety trooper surveyed the scene.
“We approached cautiously with the wind to our backs in case there was anything hazardous there,” Anz said Tuesday afternoon. “There was some kind of odor. It smelled a lot like creosote or railroad ties.”
Firefighters didn’t know what they were dealing with, so they took every pre
caution they could, Anz said.
“We were worried, we could see stuff on the ground and we knew there had been a leak. We started evacuating people,” he said.
Comal County Emergency Management Coordinator Carol Edgett said the first job for Bracken Fire Chief and incident commander, Don Zipp, was to determine what the situation was.
Edgett, County Fire Marshal Lin Manford, County Judge Danny Scheel, the Garden Ridge Police Department and other agencies were dispatched.
When Edgett arrived, Zipp was setting up his command post at the Bracken fire station on Goll Street, a few yards from the derailment.
A DPS trooper got a copy of the manifest, and determined that the train had been hauling lard, peanut oil and scrap metal. There were no hazardous chemicals aboard.
By dawn Tuesday, the UPSee DERAILMENT/5A
Residents plead with city to stop annexation
CHRIS PACE/Herald-Zeitungloger Tuttle, president of the T Bar M property owners ssociation, speaks with Councilmen Robert Kendrick and ee Rodriguez after Tuesday night’s annexation hearing.
By Ron MaloneyStaff Writer
Four deer grazed quietly, less than IOO feet behind the garage in Mission Valley Estates where members of the city council listened to about 75 people explain why they don’t want to become part of the City of New Braunfels.
City Council conducted a pair of public hearings Tuesday night to listen to reasons residents in Mission Valley Estates, T Bar M Ranch Estates and Preiss Heights don’t want to be annexed — and to answer questions about
The hearings were held in these areas specifically as required by law after those residents filed petitions to stop the annexation of their neighborhoods.
About 200 residents attended and were invited by the city to enter into negotiations to determine the terms under which they will ultimately join New Braunfels.
The questions centered on city services, the rural natures of the neighborhoods, the feeling that the city was running roughshod over the neighborhoods and on taxes — who pays what to
whom and what they get or don’t get in return for it.
At Mission Valley Estates, resident John Vogt asked council members to do what is moral and right — to vote their hearts, just as though it were they who lived in Mission Valley Estates.
“You guys go to H-E-B, you go to Albertsons just like we do and you raise kids here like we do. Vote your hearts and spirits,” Vogt said.
Mayor Stoney Williams said his belief was the city council had to consider allSee ANNEXATION/5A
Lawmakers criticize granting amnesty to illegal immigrants
By JESSE J. HOLLANDAssociated Press Writer
WASHINGTON (AP) — A Bush administration plan to eventually give permanent legal status to many of the 3 million illegal immigrants from Mexico drew fire on Capitol Hill.
A study group headed by Secretary of State Colin Powell and Attorney General John Ashcroft has recommended that the United States grant guest-worker status and possibly
legal residency to some undocumented Mexican immigrants.
The proposal, sent to the White House Friday, would be “part of our continued effort to work with the Mexican government toward our shared goal of a more orderly, more humane, legal and safe migration,” spokesman Scott McClellan said.
Some conservatives have opposed anything beyond allowing Mexicans here illegally to stay as temporary laborers.Inside
Key Code 76
Parents’ tip leads to man’s arrest on drug, child indecency charges
By Ron Maloney Staff Writer
CANYON KAKE —A tip from parents led to the arrest of a 41-year old Canyon Lake man accused of coercing teen-age girls to expose themselves and giving them marijuana.
Brett L. Cooper, of the 300 block of Kings Drive in the Emerald Valley subdivision, was arrested at his home at 5:30 a.m. Tuesday. Deputies
arrested him on warrants alleging delivery of marijuana to a minor, encouraging a sexual performance and indecency with a child by exposure.
Comal County Sheriff’s detective Sgt. Tommy Ward said parents aUeged someone was providing their 13 - and 14-year-olds with marijuana. Ward said investigation revealed that some girls were exposingSee ARREST/5A