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New Braunfels Herald Zeitung (Newspaper) - June 18, 2003, New Braunfels, Texas New Braunfels WEDNESDAY June 18, 2003 18 pages in 2 sections ■■P" ■WMJ"    MFmmmmWK9    pages    in    2    sec)Herald-Zeitu n g  ...... HHH Vol. 152, No. 185 Serving New Braunfels and Comal County since 1852 50 centsNBISD teachers get 3 percent salary increase By Bean Bowlin Staff Writer The board of trustees voted unanimously Tuesday night to raise the pay of teachers in the New Braunfels Independent School District. The board approved a salary increase of 3 percent for all pay grades. “The 3 percent is probably low in terms of what our employees deserve and what they should get,” said trustee Rob Johnson. The vote established $31,500 per year as the starting salary for beginning teachers with a bachelor’s degree and no experience. Teachers with a master’s degree and no experience will make $32,500 per year. The vote came after trustees approved a budget BIGGADIKE of $830,937. The district is dipping into its reserve fund to pay the salaries. Trustees said they supported the raise. They said they felt it was necessary, even though they didn’t like having to dipping into the district’s reserves. “Using the reserve for pay increases is not normal,” Johnson said. “Financially, it’s very difficult to swallow, but I’m going to swallow.” Board Vice President John Haas agreed with Johnson. ‘I don’t like dipping into our savings account to pay for things,” Haas said. “But our team, for our administration, has worked very hard. I’ll support 3 percent.” Treasurer Penelope Biggadike said she thought it was a good idea to give teachers a raise. But she said the district will have to tighten its budgetary belt next year. “I know next year is going to be a harder challenge, because we’re going to want the district to have funds for emergencies,” Biggadike said. Board President D. Lee Edwards also supported the salary increase. But he said dipping into the reserve funds made it hard to do. ‘This is one of the hardest decisions that board members have had to make,” Edwards said. With a looming question mark hanging over the amount of funding the state will give the district, See RAISE/3AHoffman Lane speed limit issue goes to the publicAt a glance By Ron Maloney Staff Writer Residents who have a stake in Hoffman Lane will have the chance to speak out Thursday on a proposal to reduce the speed limit by 5 mph and make the road a “no passing zone.” County commissioners will conduct a public hearing on the issue during their weekly meeting at 8:15 a.m.. After the hearing, they will vote on whether to take action. Commissioners’ court meets at 199 Main Plaza. The road discussion was placed on the agenda by Precinct 4 Commissioner Jan Kennady in response to concerns expressed by area residents and Hoffman Lane Elementary School patrons. Hoffman Lane runs about three miles from Farm-to-Market Road 1102 to FM 306 northeast of New Braunfels. Comal County Commissioners Thursday will: ■ Ratify a $50,000 Homeland Security grant application; ■ Consider authorizing the request of bids for upgrades to the sheriff’s office/jail camera system; ■ Appoint or reappoint members to the Comal County * Industrial Development Authority board. The speed limit is 40 mph. Historically, the road has afforded gravel and limestone trucks going to the Canyon Lake area a route that bypasses FM 306 in the Interstate 35 and Gruene areas. In recent years, subdivisions have sprung up nearby, increasing auto traffic See SPEED LIMIT/3AFormer councilman is ‘Citizen of the Year’ Special to the Herald-Zeitung SAN ANTONIO — The Alamo Area Council of Governments chose a former New Braunfels city councilman and mayor pro tem as its “citizen of the year.” Ramon Chapa Jr., 42, will receive the honor at 2 p.m. today at AACOG’s board of directors meeting. A reception will follow. The AACOG office is located at 8700 Tesoro Drive in San Antonio. Chapa was recognized because of his public service and volunteer work, said AACCX! spokesperson Tiffany Pickens. “We’re looking for a person who has contributed to sig nificant positive advancement to his or her community or government in our 12-county area,” Pickens said. Chapa served six years as mayor pro tem on the New Braunfels City Council in the late 1980s. He has an extensive resume of public service, going back to his years in the U.S. Army. In recent years, he was instrumental in the Bexar County region’s record-setting 80,000-child enrollment in the Children’s Health Insurance Program. Currently vice president of the West San Antonio Chamber of Commerce and the South San Antonio Lions Club, Chapa recently moved back to New Braunfels. Inside Dear Abby...............SA Classifieds..............3-6B Comics...............7A Crossword.............7A Forum................6A Movies................5A Sports...............8-9A Today.................2A Stocks................5A 8    56825    00001    1 A I H QUAI HY Health Alert The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality and the Alamo Area Council of Governments has declared today an Air Quality Health Alert Day. ■ Reduce unnecessary vehicle driving ■ Carpool if possible or combine all errands into one trip ■ Avoid use of “drive through* lanes or services ■ Don’t refuel during daylight ■ Avoid use of gas-powered yard equipment ■ Avoid exterior painting Pollution levels are posted online at: A ‘super cool deal’ K. JESSIE SLATEN/Herald-Zertung Randy Olvera, 3, watches and listens as machinery brings cellulose insulation into his home Tuesday. Because the house had too little insulation, the inside reached sweltering temperatures during sunny summer days. Through the New Braunfels Utilities Bill Assistance Program, the Olvera family Is receiving insulation and some relief from the heat.Local family gets insulated against the stifling summer heat By Dylan Jimenez Staff Writer Cassie Olvera has struggled since 1993 to keep her New Braunfels home cool in the summer. She cools her eight-room, more than 1,100 square-feet home with three window units and a network of eight ceiling and standing fans that circulate the air. She covers the windows with dark heavy towels to keep the sun out. She uses her water hose to spray water on her tin roof. Still, her home is uncomfortable in the Texas heat, she said. “I’ve got a thermometer in my house, and the other night it was IO [o’clock], and it was still between 85 and 95 degrees,” Olvera said, “(The house) gets that hot during the day.” The coolest rooms are in the center of the house, but all of the bedrooms are on the perimeter of the house. Its so hot in the summer, that some nights its hard to sleep. Often, its cooler outside Olvera’s home than it is inside. It s easier to stay warm in the winter than it is to stay cool in the summer time, because she and her kids can layer up or stack the blankets. “In the summer it’s hot, and theres nothing you can do,” Olvera said. One of the bedrooms on the west side of the house heats up in the afternoon as the sun goes down. The interior walls on that side get hot to the touch. “That room is like an oven,” she said. Olvera has been using more than 3,000 kilowatt hours of electricity each month. Her electrical bill is between $225 and $275 per month. She paid $250 in March and April. “We weren’t running anything; what’s going to hap- K. JESSIE SLATEN/Herald-Zertung In the heat of th© tin-roofed attic Tuesday afternoon, Cristino Casteneda sprays cellulose insulation in the Olvera’s home. pen when we start running the air conditioner?’ she said. Olvera has tried minimizing her use of electricity. But she knows that if she waits until the evening to turn on the air conditioning units, they have to work twice as hard to get the temperature down. So she keeps them set at about 78 degrees. “The heat comes down in the afternoon, and it just cooks in there,” Olvera said. The problem is the home’s insulation. Two tall pecan trees in her front yard help shade part of the house when they grow thick enough foliage. Her tin roof soaks up less heat than the standard shingled roof. But Olvera’s house had very little insulation until Tuesday afternoon, when Cell-U-In»ul Inc. of New Braunfels bn Right the home’s attic insulation up to standard. The house was built in 1925. Over the years, squirrels have carried away some of the insulation. The rest has shrunk to an inch rn thickness. Standard insulation is six and a half inches thick. Olvera got the help from Cell-U-Insul through New Braunfels Utilities. She was participating in the NBU Utility Bill Assistance Pro gram. As part of the program, her home was audited for energy efficiency. Val Gomez of NBU did the audit. There should be insulation See COOL DEALBA ;