New Braunfels Herald Zeitung (Newspaper) - June 13, 2004, New Braunfels, Texas
JUNE 13, 2004
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Vol. 153, No. 185 32 pages, 4 sections
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Man pleads guilty to sex with 14-year-old
By Ron Maloney
The Austin man scheduled to go to trial Monday on nine counts for having sex with a 14-year-old Comal County girl pleaded guilty Thursday to
sexual assault of a child.
Under the plea bargain reached by Assistant District Attorney Joe Soane and defense attorney Christopher Gunter, Alex Gregory Zwarun, 30, of Austin, will face no more than IO years in prison when
274th Judicial District Judge Gary Steel sentences him later this summer.
Zwarun, arrested by Comal County sheriff’s detectives Dec. 5, 2002, faced seven charges of sexual assault of a child, one of indecency with a
cliild by exposure and one of attempted sexual assault.
Under a Texas law that allows “stacking" sexual assault sentences, Zwarun faced heavy prison time if convicted — and if Steel sentenced him consecutively.
Soane said the sentence would serve justice because Zwarun would do some prison time and have to register as a sex offender. Also, Soane said, his victim would not have to testify in open court.
“He was wise to do this,” Soane said. “If we had gone to trial, his exposure would have been in excess of 180 years.”
Sheriff’s detectives allege See ZWARUN, Page 9A
Seniors lobby city for break in taxes
By Scott Mahon
The New Braunfels City Council will consider freezing property taxes for seniors Monday, but Mayor Adam Cork said he hoped seniors considered the impact the tax break would have on other residents.
Comal County commissioners took no action on the issue Thursday, but Comal County Judge Danny Scheel said he couldn’t support the tax break.
Both Scheel and Cork said offering a tax break to seniors would be unfair to other residents.
“If the city adopted the measure, it would be binding and permanent," Cork said. “And the long-term implications would be extreme. Personally, I think a tax freeze for seniors would be a dangerous thing because we don’t know what the demographics of New Braunfels would be in IO years. The measure could make New Braunfels more attractive to retire to, and I don’t think that would be fair to citizens as a whole. So I hope that the seniors who are proposing this look at the impact it would have by shifting the tax burden to younger families in the community.”
Wayne Rudolph, an active supporter of the measure, said a group of senior citizens were prepared to petition the city and county for a special election.
“I expect about 40 of us will attend Monday's meeting,” he said. “Our hope is council will freeze property taxes for seniors, or at least set a date for an election so we can avoid a petition.”
Rudolph said about 1,200 signatures would be required for a petition.
B What: New
Braunfels City Council
■ Whan: 6:30
■ Where: Municipal Building. 424 S. Casted Ave
■ In othar action.
council will also consider:
— Annexing 5.700 acres, including 2.500 acres adjacent to the airport
— Appointing a charter review commission
— Approving a three-month budget from July 1 to Sept. 30.
— An ordinance to prohibit parking within three feet of all driveways within an area bounded by South Union Avenue. East South Street. South Central Avenue and East Mather Street
— Ending the river activities committee
— Approving the appraisal of the Comal County fairground property
Upping test scores could mean tweaking subjects
By Leigh Jones
New Braunfels Independent School District trustees will take a break from making difficult decisions and listen to six reports Tuesday night.
Among those, Rosalyn Bratcher, assistant superintendent for curriculum, will brief board members on spring 2004 Texas Assessment of Knowledge and Skills ( JAKS) results.
“It’s going lo be a good report to the board,” Bratcher said. “I’m still very pleased with results. We did very well.”
NBISD juniors passed the
exit level test at a rate of 81 percent,
IO percent above the state average.
Passing rates were higher among lower grades, with 98 percent of third-graders and 92 per-cent of fourth-graders passing the reading portion of the test.
Bratcher said administrators still saw room for improvement.
“We do see some curricular areas that need strength. Short-answer writing is a good example,” she said. “We are looking at how to strengthen
AT A GLANCE
m What: NBISD Board Meeting
B Whan: 7 p m
■ Whara: Education Center boardroom, 430 W Mill St
The District Educational Improvement Council also will review Bratcher’s report in the coming weeks. It will be its responsibility to recommend any curriculum or instruction changes.
Bratcher’s report will include an explanation of the two TARS passing levels: “Met the standard” and “Commended.”
Only 2 percent of NBISD juniors passed tile test at the commended level. In order to pass the test at the com
mended level, juniors were required to correctly answer 85 percent of questions on the English language arts (ELA) test, 88 percent on the math test, 91 percent on the science test and 89 percent on the social studies test.
By contrast, juniors passing at the “met the standard” level were required to correctly answer 49 percent of questions on the EIA test, 40 percent on the math test, 44 percent on the science test and 40 percent on the social studies test.
Bratcher previously said it
See NBISO. Page 9A
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The new Bulverde city hall building, which began under the guidance of the city's first mayor. Bob Barton, will be finished this month. The newly formed city council, which worked to oust Barton, plans to begin meeting here by August.
BULVERDE CITY COUNCIL
Change in Bulverde leadership stems from fledgling town’s explosive growth
verde said. They’re tired of the infighting, of not having anything get done. They want to move forward, and they want things to change in Bulverde.”
Sorbera, Alderman Sarah Stevick and Alderman Richard Parker ran on a platform of aggressive change in the city to manage the explosive growth. Their opponents, Barton and city planner Cindy Cross, had a more conservative agenda, promoting fiscal responsibility and small city government.
More than 500 turned out for the May 15 election of city councilmembers, who serve at-large. Parker received 426 votes, Stevick 353, Sorbera 339, Cross 212 and Barton 174.
A fourth councilmember, former mayor Beverlee Lemes,
See BULVERDE. Page 9A
Editor s Note: This is the first in a three-part series about growth and politics in Bulverde.
■ TODAY: Changes in council after the May 15 municipal elections
■ TUESDAY: The
city s sooivtobe implemented comprehensive plan for managing growth.
The political interaction of land developers and city officials in cities with explosive growth
By Brandi Grissom
Staff WriterIt's a family tradition
Taeler Klaeve-mann, 13, serves the volleyball during a family reunion in Landa Park Saturday afternoon. A large group of relatives from around the state gathered in the crowed park where they have held the annual event for the fourth year.
BULVERDE — With explosive growth comes change, a prospect welcomed by some and feared by others. Recent city council election results seem to indicate more in this budding community are embracing expansion and willing to bear the tax burden it will likely bring.
Since its incorporation in 1999, under guidance of its first mayor, Bob Barton, the city has nearly doubled in size from about 2,500 residents to almost 5,000. Drafts of the city’s comprehensive plan indicate population here could reach 20,000 by 2030.
“They want to move forward," Alderman Mike Sorbera said. “That’s the biggest, loudest thing the citizens of Bul-
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