New Braunfels Herald Zeitung (Newspaper) - June 5, 2004, New Braunfels, Texas
SATURDAY, JUNE 5, 2004
The New Braunfels softball team loses to Crowley 4-0 in the state semifinal game. Pages SA
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FORUM GUEST COLUMN
Judith Davis discusses how changes in volunteer programs at McKenna helped, not harmed, them. Page 4A
Serving New Braunfels and Comal County since 1852.
Vol. 153, No. 178 16 pages, 2 sections
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DEAR ABBY 3B CLASSIFIEDS 4-108 COMICS 2B CROSSWORD 2B FORUM 4A
OBITUARIES 3B SPORTS 5-6A TV GRIDS 3BSchlitterbahn, city discuss land swap
By Scott Mahon
Schlitterbahn President Gary Henry said an offer made to the New Braunfels City Council to swap a 41-acre parcel for the city’s 30-acre fairgrounds property would be a win-win deal for the water resort and the city.
The offer was discussed May 24 by council members in executive session.
“Schlitterbahn initiated the proposal,” said City Manager
Chuck Pinto. “Because it was discussed in executive session, we couldn’t really talk about the details.”
Henry talked publicly about the proposal Thursday. He said he wanted to swap a 40-acre parcel between Live Oak and Loop 337 for approximately 31 acres owned by the city near the Guadalupe River.
“It’s the Comal County fairgrounds property,” Pinto said. “The city currently
leases the property to the Comal County Fair Association, and the lease runs until 2034. But Gary approached the association First, and evidently they didn’t have a problem with the proposal.”
Henry said the proposal
was would be good for the city, the Comal County Fair Association and Schlitterbahn.
“I simply see this as an effort for Schlitterbahn to address parking issues,” he said. “Over the years, Schlitterbahn has acquired 30 tracts for off-site parking for our patrons, and this would be just a continuation in addressing parking issues.”
Henry said he has a purchase option on 41 acres near
Loop 337 at a fixed price.
“The property I have an option on fronts Live Oak and borders the little League park,” he said. “Council indicated they’re interested in the proposal, but they want to have the fairground property appraised first. Then we’ll have something more to talk about.”
Henry said the fairground property has environmental issues, which could affect the value of the property.
“There used to be a landfill and incinerator on the property, so I doubt the city would ever develop the property,” he said. "Besides, the fairground property has been the traditional site for the county fair for decades. I believe tradition is important, so I want the fairground association to be able to stay there for another IOO years if they want.
“In fact, if the swap goes
See SWAP, Page 3A
Mistrial declared in sexual indecency case
By Ron Maloney
With jurors deadlocked 11-1 in favor of acquittal, 22nd Judicial District Judge Charles Ramsay declared a mistrial Friday in the case against a 49-year-old woman accused of sexual indecency with a 14-year-old boy.
Jacqueline G. Merrill was accused of three counts of indecency with a child by sexual contact. The charge is a second-degree felony punishable by two to 20 years in state prison and a $10,000 fine.
After jurors deliberated several hours Thursday and then into late Friday morning, Ramsay declared the mistrial after being informed by the jury foreman that an impasse had been reached.
The jury of six men and six women was polled, and one female juror indicated she believed Merrill was guilty.
Defense attorney Norman Dean, who has publicly insisted on the innocence of his client since he took the case, said he was surprised that even one juror could believe Merrill was guilty.
“They tried for several hours to
get the one lady to come to her senses,” Dean said. “We're literally shocked that there was not a full acquittal—that, there being no evidence of any wrongdoing even tine person could believe she was guilty. She certainly is not; shes never been guilty and they’ve never found any evidence to show otherwise.”
Dean said he hoped the district attorney’s office would not refile the case, but he was prepared to go back to trial if it did.
“We welcome them to have a speedy' retrial if that s what they decide to do,” Dean said.
Assistant District Attorney Geoff Barr, who prosecuted Merrill with Assistant District Attorney Von Bunn, said Friday he would set a new pretrial hearing, but that he was uncertain whether Merrill would go back to trial.
"I think all in all, the jury did their job. My next step will be to take the discussions the jury had and consider in my mind whether justice is done. In the same vein, I have to consider the victim. At this point, I don’t have an answer,” Barr said. “I
See TRIAL, Page 3A
Principal candidate to be considered at meeting
By Laigh Jon**
New Braunfels High School will have a new principal Monday night, if school district board of trustees approves the candi-
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received 45 applications for lite position. Some were from within the district and some were from outside candidates.
Reaves said the new principal’s contract starts July 1.
“(lf approved Monday night), the new person might start before then and hit the ground running, ’ he said. "We definitely want the new principal to be a part of any new staffing process.”
During summer months, principals devote time to filling vacant teaching and paraprofessional positions for the next sch(x)l year.
“I Ie or she will also start meet ii lg witl I existing faculty to begin developing plans for next year,” Reaves said.
The new principal will step into a school still smoldering
See SCHOOL, Page 3A
Photos by DAVID INGRAM/Herald-Zeitung
Lands Park spring fed pool lifeguard Shawnasee Retzloff watches as a swimmer lets go of the zipline Friday afternoon. Lifeguards must scan their “zone” at least once every 10 seconds and be able to reach a swimmer in trouble in less than 20 seconds.
Lifeguards help keep water safe, fun
By Ron Maloney
A week ago, two little girls left unattended for moments in a hot tub at a Canyon Lake resort very nearly drowned. Bystanders who knew cardiopulmonary resuscitation — and a quick response by paramedics—saved their lives, Tuesday afternoon, New Braunfels lifeguard Phillip Cameron was working on the edge of the spring-fed pool in luanda Park when he saw two children in need of help in the water.
“This little kid got in trouble. I dove off the edge and started hauling butt,” Cameron said. “With little kids, I didn’t want to have them lose consciousness in the water.” When he got to the child and handed off his lifesaving tube, he saw a nearby child having trouble
Lifeguard Dane Malatesta, 16. scans the "zone" in front of her at the Landa Park spring feed pool.
too. I Ie pulled that child to the lifesaving device.
Parks Director Stacey laird said the incident, which occurred just
after 2 p.m., was not much different from others that regularly occur at the facility — which is why they have lifeguards.
“Water is fun, but only when supervised appropriately,” Laird said. “This is why we encourage parents to keep an eye on their kids at all times. I ive and eight may seem old enough to let kids play by themselves, but they get tired. You just can’t take your eyes off them.” lairds concerns have been tragically borne out recently in child drownings in swimming jxtols and bathtubs. In children under five, drowning is the leading cause of accidental death, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics.
A public or commercial swimming pool usually has lifeguards
See POOL, Page 3A
HOME POOL SAFETY
■ Never leave your children alone in or near the pool, even for a moment. A child can drown m the time it takes to answer a phone call
■ Separate your house from the pool. Most young children who drown m pods wander out of the house and fall into the pool. Install a fence at least four feet high around all 4 sides of the pool. Use gates that selfdose and self-latch, with latches higher than your children s reach.
■ Secure the pool so children cannot get into it when unattended
■ Never prop open the gate to a pool barrier.
H Keep rescue equipment, such as a shepherd s hook or life preserver, and a telephone by the pool
■ Do not use flotation devices as a substitute for supervision
■ Do not let your child use air-filled swimming aids because they are not a substitute for approved life vests and can be dangerous
B Anyone watching young chicken around a pool should learn CPR and be able to rescue a chid if needed
■ lf a child is missing, check the pool first Seconds count in preventing death or disability
R Do not allow a young child in the pool without an adult.
H Remember, teazling your child how to swim does not mean your child is safe in water
From the American
Academy of Pediatrics
Casteel wants city to consider nonannexation issue
By Scott Mahon
State Rep. Carter Casteel said she was optimistic that city council would change its mind about a nonannexation agreement being sought by farmers.
After months of postponing a recommendation on the annexation of farmland near the municipal airport, the planning commission voted 7-2 Tuesday in favor of annexing almost 2,500 acres adjacent to the airport. The vote ended weeks
of attempting to work out the legaiities of a nonannexation agreement proposed by an Austin attorney.
Cheryl, who sits on the planning commission, voted against sending the recommendation to council.
Attorney lid Small, who represented the farming constituency in its fight for
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a nonannexation agreement, said an agreement drafted by his law office met the city’s requirements to control future development and zoning around the municipal aiiport.
I lowever, Mayor Adam Cork said Thursday that Small failed to address the issue of “doughnuts," or nonannexed tracts inside die city limits, and tracts outside the city limits that could not be annexed prior to development.
"I watched the planning commission
See ANNEXATION, Page 3A
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