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New Braunfels Herald Zeitung (Newspaper) - June 2, 2000, New Braunfels, Texas JM, ]\f r w ^tPNBT A 4 -*N FFI S TT T Heral Vol. 149 No. 140    20    pages    in    2    sections    June    2,    2000 Owens Corning union vote fails OO4 •SCL 6*> 6: ‘ o ■\jp Water Restrictions ■ New Braunfels Utilities customers cannot water today. Well users with addresses ending in 8 or 9 can water today after 8 p.m. "'■'So ' Or t +    9 ITUNG 1—j • *11111 ■■1 J Friday Setting Comal County since 1852 50 cents By Heather Todd Staff Writer Workers at Owens Coming Fabrics who waited four months to learn the results of a union vote will have to wait another year before voting again on union representation. During a hearing before the National Labor Relations Board in San Antonio, Owens Corning employees found out they were two votes shy of gaining union representation from UNITE (Union of Needletrades, Industrial and Textile Employees). During the hearing, the board opened five contested votes from a union election conducted in January. Only two of those contested votes were needed in order for workers to gain UNITE representation. In all, 62 workers voted against union representation and 59 voted for the union. At least 50 percent plus one vote of the hourly workers must vote in favor of UNITE in order to get its representation. Owens Coming Fabrics, 1851 S. Seguin, which manufactures woven glass fiber, employs about 120 hourly workers in New Braunfels and more than 20,000 employees worldwide. In 1997, a union vote failed by IO votes, several workers said. Reaction from union organizers and some employees ranged from disappointment to shock. “I couldn’t believe it,” said one employee who wished to remain anonymous. “I’m very disappointed.” “It’s very sad,” union organizer Debi Conrad said. “The workers really need a union. They’re treated badly and they’ve had benefits taken away from them.” Management at Owens Coming See UNION/5A Catch the wave See Results/1 B Bodyboarding lifestyle luring local teen-agers By K. JESSIE SLATEN Staff Writer It’s a growing subculture replete with its own language, music and fashion, luring the youth of New Braunfels with its extreme sport lifestyle. - The    sport    of bodyboarding has caught on in a big way, and this weekend the professionals are in town for a competition sure to draw local amateurs to watch and learn from the top dogs. For the ninth year, Schlitterbahn is hosting the pro competition, an invitational with 20 bodyboarders that will decide the annual Flow Rider World Bodyboarding Champion. Amateurs will compete for the fourth year, with several local favorites vying for the chance to advance to the national finals in September. “Bodyboarding is the act of riding waves on a 31/2 foot flexible piece of foam,” said event coordinator Jay Reale. More than that, he said, “ifs a lifestyle.” As the junior amateur competition began Thursday, hundreds of bathing suit-clad fans and athletes sat or lined the rails of Boogie Bahn to watch the 52 under-18 bodyboarders. Some sported “earrings” in strange places, others tattoos. Many wore WCB (World Class Bodyboards) and other apparel designed specifically for their sport. Schlitterbahn Waterpark’s continuous wave surfing ride is attracting such a following, Jana Taber has turned the gift shop near the ride into a surfwear shop. The majority of the crowd are K. JESSIE SLATEN/Herald-Zeitung A competitor waits at the top of the flume for his turn in Schlitterbahn’s bodyboarding competition Thursday at the Boogie Bahn. Thursday’s competition was for amateurs. The professional bodyboarders compete today and Saturday. average New Braunfels teens. “There is a subculture of kids in New Braunfels and elsewhere that live for this ride,” Reale said. “Ifs radical, very radical.” The professionals are here for the perfect surf trip. In the waterpark, the usual hazards of ocean body boarding are absent. “Here, you have a completely predictable wave-with no obstacles. No sharks, no jellyfish, no sand - just a surf trip in its most perfect form,” Reale said. See WAVE/4A Elian denied hearing Father pleads with relatives not to appeal court’s decision By Erin McClam Associated Press Writer ATLANTA (AP) — A federal appeals court sided with the government Thursday and denied an asylum hearing for Elian Gonzalez — a ruling that could send the 6-year-old shipwreck survivor back to Cuba with his father within weeks. The unanimous ruling from a three-judge panel of the lith U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals blocked Elian from leaving the country immediately and gave his Miami relatives two weeks to appeal — either to the full appeals court or the Supreme Court. Family lawyer Kendall Coffey said he hadn’t decided on a course of action. However, Elian’s father, Juan Miguel Gonzalez, pleaded with the Miami family to end the court battle so father and son could “finally go back home together.” The father came to the United States to reclaim his son in April. “Make no mistake about what happened today,” said the father’s lawyer, Gregory Craig. “This case has been decided, and in our view there is no longer any doubt about the ultimate outcome.” The appeals court ruled that the Immigration and Naturalization Service acted within reason when it decided that only Elian’s father could apply for asylum for him, not the Miami relatives. The court said that because no federal law addresses whether a child as young as Elian can seek asylum against the wishes of his parents, the INS was required to come up with a policy dealing with “the extraordinary circumstances” of the case. The judges acknowledged that Cuba violates human rights and the rule of law. But they said the INS, not the courts, should determine immigration policy. The judges also denied a request by Elian’s father to replace Elian’s great-uncle Lazaro Gonzalez as the boy’s representative in the court proceedings, a move that would have allowed the father to drop the asylum request and take his son back to Cuba. GONZALEZ Bracken firefighters worried about county funding cuts By Erin Magruder Staff Writer The Bracken Volunteer Fire Department Board of Directors is turning up the heat in its fight against predicted county funding cuts as Comal County budget talks are set to begin in six weeks. During this past year’s budgeting process, county commissioners decided to gradually phase out funding for the four rural fire prevention districts based on projected increases in population and valuations in the taxing districts, Comal County Judge Danny Scheel said. And commissioners said they planned to trim funds again in 2001 — a decision the Bracken volunteer firefighters say could be detrimental to the safety of the 70-square-mile community the volunteer fire department serves. MILLIKIN ‘We are considered to be essential services, and the tax revenue we have coming in is not enough to keep up with the rising costs and expenditures of running the department,” BVFD board president Fred Moos said. “We need the county to maintain the status quo as it is right now and not cut funds.” But commissioner Jay Minikin said the county was holding steady in its position that taxpayer money should not be used to subsidize a taxing entity, such as the districts that fund rural fire departments in the county. “Our position basically hasn’t changed,” Minikin said. “We are recommending alternative routes to fund the districts.” And the districts are not without options if they cannot operate within the revenue stream created by the taxing entity. One possibility is for the county and rural fire prevention districts to support legislation to increase the maximum state tax cap of 3 cents per $100 property valuation, Minikin said. Approval of the tax cap increase would require a state constitutional amendment in the January 2001 legislative session. Moos said. “The tax cap increase might be hard to gain support for,” Moos said. “And what are we supposed to do in the meantime?” The county, which has funded the rural fire and rescue service providers since 1992, decreased its funding by an average of $6,000 per district for 2000. Commissioners cut funding for the district that funds BVFD from $40,000 inSee FIREFIGHTERS/5A A ‘symbolic foundation’ K. JESSIE SLATEN/Herald-Zeitung Wearing ceremonial white hardhats and hefting golden shovels are, from left, CISD Superintendent Jerry Major, board president John Clay, vice president Dan Krueger, New Braunfels Mayor Stoney Williams and CISD trustees Robert Loop, Nick Nichols, Dora Gonzales and John Bertelsen. CISD board member Deraid LaRue was absent.CISD breaks ground on $6.7 million elementary From Staff Reports What began with a prayer Thursday morning ended with speeches and the turning of earth by eight spray-painted, gold ceremonial shovels. A little more than two years from now, up to 800 elementary school students will tread the ground broken by Comal Independent School District for its new elementary school. The facility is the district’s first new primary school in a decade and the first of three it intends to build in the coming few years. The $6.7 million school, which will support 800 students in 39 classrooms, hasn’t been named. It will be on Farm-to-Market Road 306, on the south side of the Hoffman Lane intersection. The attendance zone for the new facility hasn’t been set. It is expected to open in August 2002. Other elementary schools are planned in the Cibolo Creek area of Bulverde west of U.S. 281 and north of Canyon Lake near FM 306 and Cranes Mill Road. The site for the Canyon Lake school has been selected, and the district is working now to close a deal on a site in the Bulverde area, board president John Clay said. “This elementary school is the first new one this district has built since Bill Brown in 1991,” Clay said. See CISD/5A Inside Abby......................... .......7A Classifieds.................. ...3-8B Comics....................... .......8A Crossword................. .......7A Forum......................... .......6A Local/Metro................. .......4A Movies......................... .......7A Obituaries................... .......3A Sports........................ ....1-2B Today.......................... .......2A Television....................... .....10A Key Code 76 ;