New Braunfels Herald Zeitung (Newspaper) - June 20, 2007, New Braunfels, Texas
WEDNESDAY, JUNE 20,2007
SPORTS Little league
Seguin ousts NB Blue in 9-year-old baseball; NB Pee Wee softballers prevail again. Page 6A
LOCAL Cover your load
Waste Management teams up with state to encourage drivers to stop trash blowing from their vehicles. Page 2A
Serving New Braunfels and Comal County since 1852.
Vol. 154, No. 189 18 pages, 2 sections
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Meeting fails to resolve STOP, city issue
Both sides back in district court Thursday
By Mark Koopmans
Officials from both sides of the river ordinance lawsuit met to discuss possible settlement options during a private meeting Tuesday.
However no agreements were reached, said attorney Scott Tschirhart, who represents the group known as Stop The Ordinances Please.
“The city called this confidential settlement meeting, which was a good opportunity for all concerned to sit down and think hard — but nothing was resolved,” Tschirhart said Tuesday.
Tschirhart originally filed the lawsuit — aimed at throwing out New Braunfels river ordinances regulating cooler size and other rules on the Guadalupe and Comal rivers in New Braunfels—with the Comal County District Court in April.
An amendment on May 30 expanded the lawsuit to include eliminating the $1.25 per person
river management fee levied on outfitters by the city. The cooler size ordinance and the management fee were the “particular sticking points” of the 9 a.m. meeting, Tschirhart said.
“We’re willing to abandon most of the other ordinances that don’t directly affect us, such as the beer-
See STOP, Page 10ALocal boy, IO, killed in Milwaukee
Child died three weeks after father passed away in wreck on same street
By Mark Koopmans
MILWAUKEE — A 10-year-old New Braunfels boy, who was staying with family following the funeral of his father in Wisconsin, was struck and killed by a van Sunday.
William Batton, lr., who attended Goodwin Frazier Elementary School, died on the same street where his father, William Batton,
Sr., was killed in a car wreck three weeks ago, a family friend said Monday.
“He (William) was about to enter the fourth grade," said Shawna Krahn, who is helping the boy’s mother, Lena “Renee” Nelson, with funeral arrangements.
A passing van hit the boy at about 7:45 p.m. Sunday, according to police. The driver, who originally left the scene, later called authorities, said Lt. lames Timm with the Milwaukee Police Department.
The driver apparently left out of fear for his safety because a crowd was gathering at the scene — and not to avoid responsibility for the accident, T imm told the Associated Press.
At the time, family members were enjoying a retirement party when several children decided to play in the front yard.
“It appears that the child was playing hide-and-seek and he ran out from between two parked cars,” said Public Relations Manager Amie E. Schwartz with the MPD. “No charges are pending, but I’m not sure if the file has been sent over to the district attorney for review yet.”
See MILWAUKEE, Page 10A
William Batton Jr.Texas lawmakers stiffen penalties for cave vandals
Gov. Perry signs bill that ups sentence to two years in jail
By David Saleh Rauf
Deep beneath the surface: That’s where some of Texas’ most revered natural resources — caves, caverns and rare rock formations — can be found.
Each year, the largest of Texas’ seven show caves, Natural Bridge Caverns located between New Braunfels and San Antonio, attracts about 250,000 visitors. The figure represents not only the intrinsic economic, environmental and scientific value of the cave formation — but the level of
awe generated by an ancient, naturally occurring phenomenon common in the Central Texas region.
For many, however, the nearly 4,000 caves native to the state of Texas are not being protected by laws with enough muscle to deter potential vandals from destroying priceless rock formations.
Case in point: Just 200 miles west of New Braunfels, in Sonora, one of the rarest — and most popular — cave formations in the world was vandalized in 2006.
On Friday, Gov. Rick Perry signed two identical bills — House Bill 3502 and Senate Bill 1524 — that will increase the penalty for anyone convicted of vandalizing or defacing a cave in Texas. The meas
ures will amend the Cavern Protection Act established by the state Legislature in 1979, which set penalties for first time offenders caught defacing or vandalizing caves at the misdemeanor level.
The bills — authored respectively by Rep. Harvey Hilderbran, R-Kerrville, and Sen. Jeff Wentworth, R-San Antonio—were motivated by the case in Sonora, where during a tour of the caverns, the trademark “butterfly formation,” was irreparably damaged when someone in a tour group snapped off the upper right wing of the butterfly.
Almost one year later and the missing piece still has not been returned and no one has been charged in the case, cave coowner Stanley Mayfield said.
See CAVE, Page 9ACleanup continues after North Texas flooding kills at least six
By Angela K. Brown
Associated Press Writer
GAINESVILLE — Carrying soggy couches, mattresses and boxes of clothing onto their lawns, hundreds of residents began cleaning up Hiesday after massive floods killed at least six people in several North Texas counties.
A couple of residents had ffont-porch signs that read, “You Loot — We Shoot!" stacked atop piles of their belongings. Others found unusual debris in their yards, from microwave ovens to refrigerators.
“We have whole households in our field,” said Scott Richardson, whose farm flooded. “I don’t know how we’re going to clean it up.”
Authorities also found the body of missing 2-year-old Makayla Marie Mollenhour, a day after her family’s mobile home floated down Pecan Creek — with the girl, her 5-year-old sister, mother and grandmother all inside. The trailer then smashed into a bridge, where it lodged.
The mother was rescued, but the bodies of Teresa Leann Arnett and her 60-year-old
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grandmother Billie Murel Mollenhour were recovered in the water Monday, Texas Department of Public Safety Trooper Rebecca Ure-sti said.
Because the water had receded by Tuesday, more rescuers and search dogs were brought in to scour the creek and its banks in search of Makayla, who was found in a tree about 2 1/2 miles downstream from her mobile home park, Uresti said.
She said authorities determined that no more people were missing in the county. Officials previously said a woman and child may have been unaccounted for, but officers went door-to-door in the area where they were last reportedly seen and could not confirm their existence, Uresti said.
At least three other people died Monday after torrential storms dropped nearly a foot of rain in parts of North Texas and caused massive flooding. A 4-year-old girl was swept away from her mother in the Fort Worth suburb of Haltom Qty, a 48-year-old woman died in Sherman when her sport utility vehicle
See FLOODING, Page 8A
Peaceful lullaby or noise pollution
Katydid population explodes following wet Texas spring
By Laura Blewitt
No, Comal County residents haven’t been imagining things — the typical insect nightlife has been louder than usual over the past few weeks.
Due to a recent Katydid outbreak — specifically the Central Texas Leaf 4^ Katydid — also known as Paracyrtophyl-lus robustus, in Comal, Bexar, Medina and Kendall counties, the insects’ once peaceful lullaby has become an annoying source of noise pollution.
The Central Texas Leaf Katydids sing every night, producing the dominant insect sound heard across Central Texas each summer, said Mike Quinn, inverte-brate biologist for the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department.
“They usually sing at night, but when they get in these huge numbers, it’s all-out singing day and night because of the intense breeding competition,” Quinn said.
Quinn speculated that the outbreak has to do with all the rain in the spring. However, since the outbreak has been localized in the northwest San Antonio area but involves a species that lives in a 20-county region, it is probable that there are other factors affecting the outbreak.
The last outbreak of this kind occurred in 2001 in Lee County. That outbreak will be investigated ftirther to see if similar patterns in heavy rains are found, which would con-
The Central Texas Leaf Katydid population is larger and louder than usual this year, a phenomenon entomologists attribute in part to the wet spring.
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firm the trigger for such huge increases in population, he said.
The Central Texas Leaf Katydids, sometimes known as longhorn grasshoppers because of their long antennae, mostly feed on and live in oak trees. Quinn said the outbreak will not endanger the trees.
“They’ve been here for thousands of years and so have the Katydids,” he said.
The Katydids will eat some of the leaves, but they will also drop nitrogen-rich frass, or insect droppings, down into the soil around the bases of the oak trees.
“The trees will come back stronger even
ff though they’ll be M suffering a bit for W the next few ’ months," Quinn said.
The huge outbreak should drop back down to normal levels by > next month, although some of the insects will continue on until September.
“If you can get past all the noise, this is something quite remarkable," Quinn said. “You’ll wish for some nice sounds again come winter."
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