New Braunfels Herald Zeitung (Newspaper) - July 30, 1999, New Braunfels, Texas
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Vol. 148, No. 181 24 pages in 2 sections July 30, 1999 t-\ Serving Comal County since 1852 50 cents
Chief: Faulty gauge affected water pressureCollier maintains problem didn’t affect Tuesday fire
By Peri Stone-Palmquist Staff Writer
A faulty gauge was to blame for low water pressure at the site of a fire Tuesday, the local fire chief told residents Thursday at a New Braunfels Utilities board meeting.
But even if the gauge had been working, the outcome would have been the same at 1639 Allison Drive, New Braunfels Fire and Rescue Chief Jack Collier said.
“Based on 25 years of experience, I feared
the structure would be a total loss,” he said.
More than 20 firefighters fought the fire in the Walnut Estates subdivision east of Interstate 35. The blaze, reported at 3:04 a.m. Tuesday, destroyed the Solis family home and its contents, valued at more than $200,000.
James Solis, a former firefighter and now a teacher in Comal Independent School District, said in an interview Tuesday he watched firefighters use one hose to fight the fire that destroyed his home.
He called the water pressure from the fire hydrant 200 feet from his house “pathetic.” Elaine Cardenas, a next-door neighbor, asked Collier on Thursday who decided the structure
was a loss. Cardenas was one of about five people attending the meeting to voice concerns with low water pressure.
“I’m not a firefighter, but it seemed like there was a lot of standing around,” she said.
Collier said firefighters were at the scene five minutes after the blaze was reported.
“When you’re waiting there, watching a house bum, it seems longer than it is,” he said.
The reason the fire got a “jump start” on the firefighters, he said, was because flames got in the wall and ran the length of the attic before anyone knew there was a fire.See PRESSURE/12A
New Braunfels Fire Chief Jack Collier responds to questions at Thursday’s New Braunfels Utilities board meeting. Collier said a faulty gauge was blamed for low water pressure at a house fire.Home repair help is now availableFederal program assists families with the basics
By Peri Stone-Palmquist
Low-to-moderate income-level families in New Braunfels might be eligible for up to $5,000 in home repair assistance.
Individuals or families meeting project requirements can apply for the federally-fiind-ed “Community Assistance and Repair Project.” It helps with problems that affect health and safety, such as handicapped accessibility, roof repair, electrical and plumbing repair and foundation repair.
“They can use it for essential repairs,” Kathy Puchek, Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) Program director, said. “But not for paint or wallpaper.”
Applications are available at the CDBG office in the New Braunfels Municipal Building, 424 S. Castell Ave.
“A lot of homes and families should be in this office,” Puchek said. “Driving around, I see a lot of homes that could benefit from this.”
Requirements dictate that:
• property taxes are paid up to date;
• the owner lives in the residence; and
• the owner hasn’t received Federal Emergency Management Agency or U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development funding in the past five years.
In addition, the home must be a single-family dwelling owner-occupied by a lower income family unable to afford needed repairs.
Qualified contractors must do all the work; funds will not be provided for homeowners to make their own repairs.
Total household income cannot exceed the following amount:
• One person: $23,450;
• Two people: $26,800;
• Three people: $30,150;
• Four people: $33,500;
• Five people: $36,200;
• Six people: $38,900;
• Seven people: $41,500;
• Eight people: $44,250.
The Community Assistance and Repair Project is a HUD-sponsored program, distributed through the city’s CDBG program.
New Braunfels is one of 57 Texas cities considered a CDBG “entitlement” city.See HELP/11 A
Man with a plan
Jonas hopes changes to bus routes will save time for kids, money for CISD
By Heather Todd
Comal Independent School District students could see shorter bus rides and later pick-up times in the near future under a new transportation system.
CISD trustees approved changes to bus routes, drive times and driver pay that should, when fully implemented reduce the amount of time some students spend on buses and save on transportation costs.
Trustee Lester W. Jonas, who developed the plan, said the adjustments would create a more effective system over a 527-square mile area, using the district’s current resources.
CISD students will begin the school year under last year’s bus schedule, which has some students on two-hour bus rides and others catching buses around 6 a.m.
Beginning no later than Jan. 4,2000, the district will reduce all bus routes to one trip in the morning and afternoons, with the exception of the Goodwin Primary/Frazier Elementary bus route. That route will require two bus runs.
Jonas said the reduced routes would effectively end the current practice of longer ones.
Currently, bus drivers must transport elementary students to and from school before picking up secondary students.
“In years past at the secondary
schools, students who get out of classes at 3:35 p.m. are still waiting at 5:20 for buses to take them home because the buses are out running other routes. It's not an effective system,” he said.
Transportation officials said a shortage in buses and the district’s large geographical area made the double routes necessary.
But, Jonas said the new system would work using the district’s fleet of 147 buses. Beginning next spring, each geographical area would get separate buses for elementary and secondary students, ending long waits and saving money on bus mileage, he said.
Jonas said the long-term goal wasSee PLAN/11 A
Comal Independent School District trustee Lester W. Jonas developed a plan to shorten bus rides for students, separate elementary and high school students on buses and decrease transportation costs. The new bus routes will begin no later than the spring 2000 semester.Business card seen as illegal
Bulverde Northwest candidates violated Texas Election Code
By Chris Crews
Six of the nine candidates in the Aug. 14 Bulverde Northwest election soon will be notified that business cards printed and distributed in the county are considered illegal.
The names of Mal McClinchie, a candidate for mayor, and alderman candidates Carolyn Benham, Charlie Lebrecht, Harry Trappe, Nancy Wehrung and Jim Winegar all appear on a business card that had been distributed in the area. The card indicated those people were in office, despite the fact the city’s first election had not taken place.
Assistant Criminal District Attorney Ellen Salyers said knowingly misrepresenting one’s status on campaign literature was a violation of Section 255.006 of the Texas Election Code.
“They need to clearly indicate they are candidates and not elected officials,” Salyers said.
Salyers said all the candidates would be notified of the situation by mail and sent a copy of the statute. She said that if persons named on the card stopped distributing them and retrieved those in circulation they were aware of, no further action would be taken.
McClinchie said he would alter the wording on the cards and comply. He was surprised there would be confusion over his status.
“With all the publicity, I don’t think I could be accused of being mayor when everyone knows that is not the case,” McClinchie said.
He said all copies of the business card were distributed w ith a short biography of himself clearly stating he w as a candidate for mayor.
Mayoral candidate Paul Joseph Maurer and alderman candidate Michael Leslie Maurer were not listed on the business card. McChnchie’s son, Kip, is the only candidate for tow n marshal.
Maria Luisa De La Cerda plays piccolo in the U.S. Army Band. The 1979 New Braunfels High School graduate is the first female drum major for the ceremonial group.
Former Unicorn leads Army band
By Christina Minor Staff Writer
Members of the United States Army Band know music is their life. Sgt. First Class Maria Luisa De La Cerda, formerly of New Braunfels, fits right into that category.
After joining the U.S. Army in 1990, De La Cerda became a member of the band, playing piccolo — her instrument of choice.
“The best part about the band is the people,” she said.
De La Cerda heard about the band through the National Flute Association, of w hich she is a member. She attended a national audition and was one of
two chosen for membership from Texas. At the time, she was performing with the Mid-Texas Symphony and teaching privately “I joined the military because of the band,” De La Cerda said. “It’s a special band. Our only two obligations to stay in the band are to keep our weight limit and pass our physical examinations tw ice a year.”
De La Cerda recently was chosen to serve as a drum major for the ceremonial band, w hich performs at funerals at Arlington National Cemetery. Being the first female drum major, her responsibilities include making sure music is playing when theSee BAND/5AInside
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