New Braunfels Herald Zeitung (Newspaper) - June 21, 2000, New Braunfels, Texas
■ New Braunfels Utilities customers with addresses ending in 3 or 4 can water today after 7 p.m. Well users with addresses ending in 4 or 5 can water today after 8 p.m.
Vol. 149 No. 153 18 pages in 2 sections June 21, 2000
Serving Comal County since 1852
NBU water usage up despite conservation
From Staff Reports
Steady growth in the number of New Braunfels Utilities customers has caused an increase in water usage this year despite watering restrictions designed to conserve local water supplies.
Local residents have been under Stage III watering restrictions since early May. They provide for watering two days a week, depending on the■ Garden Ridge maintains tough water rules./3A
last number of a homeowner’s address.
Despite recent rainfall, New Braunfels Utilities spokeswoman Gretchen Reuwer said restrictions had not been lifted.
“They will remain in place until the 10-day rolling average of the J-17 well
or Comal spring flow is above trigger level,” she said.
The well measured 658.20 feet above mean sea level Tuesday. The trigger level is an average of650 feet.
Despite water conservation efforts, water usage is up this year compared to the same time last year.
In May 1999, NBU had an average usage of 7.7 million gallons per day and a total consumption of 238.6 mil
lion gallons for the month.
This past May, NBU had an average usage of 8.05 million gallons per day and a total consumption of249.6 million gallons for the month.
Paula DiFonzo, general manager of business services for NBU, said increases in water usage could be attributed to an average of 4 percent growth on the system each year.See NBU/9A
Brookshire Homes Ltd. plans to develop homes on land off Pahmeyer Road and is fighting a stop work order given by the city of New Braunfels.
Developer files suit against city
Brookshire: NB’s stop work order abuse of power
By Heather Todd
A San Antonio developer recently filed a lawsuit against . the City of New Braunfels alleging that die city’s stop work order on the Meadow Creek subdivision is discriminatory and an abuse of the city’s power.
Brookshire Homes Ltd., a company that owns and is currently developing 50 residential properties in the Meadow Creek subdivision off Pahmeyer Road, filed the lawsuit Friday in Comal County District Court, 274th Judicial District.
Brookshire is represented by San Antonio attorney Stephen P. Allison.
The lawsuit alleges the city’s denial of building permits for the construction of four homes in the development is “arbitrary, capricious, unreasonable, and a clear abuse of the city’s power.”
On Monday, May 22, the city issued building permits to Brookshire Homes to build four homes in Meadow Creek. On Friday, May 26, the city informed Brookshire Homes president Greg H. Barrineau the building permits were put “on hold” because the proposed homes violated city ordnance.
In a letter to Barrineau, City Planner Harry Bennett said the proposed development violated Section 16.1 -1 of the City of New Braunfels Code, which states “no structure should be constructed, erected or moved into or onto any location in the City of New Braunfels if such structure does not conform with the sanitary, health and building regulations of such location or is not in keeping with the average value, construction, type and size of established property in any such location.”
Bennett said the proposed homes had to be the same price and square footage as existing homes in the area, and use similar building material, such as brick, on at least 75 percent of each residence.
Bennett also said no future building permits would be accepted or approved unless changes were made to the building plans.
Barrineau said, “The city is arbitrarily trying to enforce a code that has never been interpreted like this before.
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Funding runs out for therapeutic program
Every Monday for the past two-and-a-half years, a group of residents and employees from Eden Home have gathered in the main dining room for the sole purpose of making music with bells and chimes. Eden Home administrators said the Bell Ringers Program offered greater benefits than they have seen in any other program.
“Everything is put on hold at two o’clock on Mondays,” said Stella Jimenez, personal care manager, describing the program.
Faces light up and once-unsteady hands confidently raise bells high in the air to fill the room with rings of joy.
But these same faces wore expressions of surprise and sadness Monday after residents learned that the Bell Ringers program might not continue because of a lack of funds.
“James was close to tears,” said resident Oleane Clark when describing how James Wagner, co-founder of the Bell Ringers Program, took the news.
Clark has been with the program for two years and said the program was not only fun but also therapeutic.
“When I joined, I didn’t use my right hand. Now, I do,” she said. “It was a big part of my life. I sure will miss it. I didn’t know I had any music in my blood, but I did.”
Clark said that in the past, she didn’t even sing to herself because she didn’t like to listen to her own singing, but that the program gave her a new sense of musical accomplishment. She has taken part in several performances including musical, costumed productions.
Sue Kolath, executive secretary at Eden Home and organizer of the Bell Ringers, said loss of the program would mean much more than the simple loss of an activity.
“The Bells and Chimes Program has given an entirely new dimension to the meaning of afternoon activity,” she said. “It is very physically therapeutic and also mentally therapeutic. Several shy residents have been given a renewed purpose in life.
“As an example of the impact this program has on our residents, one performer who had been unresponsive to his surroundings, wheelchair bound and seemingly uncaring, joined the group out of curiosity and quickly regained a sense of purpose, taking responsibility for the group, becoming active in all areas of his care and even began walking once again.”
Kolath said there are many similar success stories associated
■ lf you would like to help keep the Bells Ringers Program alive, call Eden Home at 625-6291, ext. 246.
Eden Home resident Lydia Grahm, above, plays hand chimes with other residents during practice. Top: Jim Wagner conducts the final performance of Eden Home’s residents. Each musician plays a hand chime, tuned to a specific note, with Wagner pointing to each individual when it is their turn to play.
CISD trustees see $60m budget draft
From Staff Reports
Comal Independent School District trustees received Tuesday a 400-plus page draft of a $60.2 million budget proposal for the 2000-01 academic year that includes more than $1.2 million in pay raises for district employees.
The proposed budget is about $2.3 million more than the current adjusted budget.
CISD Business Manager Abel Campos said $1.2 million of the increase would fund
a pay raise, and a large chunk of the remainder would go toward increased transportation costs.
As drafted, the budget is about $800,000 over revenues, which means cuts will have to be made in coming weeks.
In other business, the board voted to delay action on plans for driveway and traffic improvements at Bill Brown Elementary School in Bulverde while it examines options.Inside
Key Code 76
Schurz principal resigns
By Ron Maloney
Kevin Brown works with people he loves in a job he loves.
But in a couple of weeks, he will walk away from it.
A five-year employee in the New Braunfels Independent School District — and principal of Carl Schurz Elementary School for the past three — Brown has resigned his position to take a job as personnel director in the Alamo Heights school district, effective the end of this month.
“It’s going to be difficult to leave,” Brown said Tuesday. “I’ve had a wonderful five years in this district and become extremely close to the
people here. This staff' is second to none. At the same time, I’ve had a wonderful opportunity come my way to go to another very good district. It’s a new experience and new challenges.
“I’m really excited about this opportunity, but it’s very difficult to say goodbye to these people,” he said. “Education is a people-oriented profession, and you get very attached to the people you work with.
“About six months ago, I decided I wanted to start working on my superintendency,” Brown said. “I decided it was a career path I was interested in. If I was going to be a principal for the rest of my life, this is the place I would be.”
Brown said one of the things he enjoyed at Schurz was helping the people he works with build a strong neighborhood school.
“I’ve enjoyed personnel work and finding talented people. If I have one strength as an administrator, that’s what it is — finding talented people. I’ve been able to do it here, and FII be able to do it in Alamo Heights as See PRINCIPALS