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New Braunfels Herald Zeitung (Newspaper) - June 25, 2005, New Braunfels, Texas .......rtLL    . #01 1000571 12/M/fi-j SOUTHWEST HICROPUBLISHERS 262? I YANDELL DK EL PASO TX 7990? SPORTS LL CHAMPS New Braunfels rallies to win the 12-year-old Little League championship over LaVernia. Page 5A FORUM COLUMN Guest columnist DonTalley says the city's animal shelter is not doing enough to help pets. Page 4A Serving New Braunfels and Comal County since 1852. Vol. 154, No. 188 16 pages, 2 sections CLICK 500 www: I a oooor tunny High Low 96 70 Details .... 1B DEAR ABBY 3B CLASSIFIEDS 4B COMICS 2B CROSSWORD 2B FORUM 4A OBITUARIES 3A SPORTS 5A TV GRIDS 3B ■Mew-Septic systems lead to surprise appraisals By Leigh Jones Staff Writer Mary Turner was shocked when she opened her notice of appraisal value for 2005 and learned her 20-year-old double-wide mobile home had appreciated $11,000. The culprit? Her septic system. “I’ve never had to pay for a septic system,” Turner said. “Now, every time I go to the potty and flush the commode, I’m paying for it.” Turner is one of thousands of Comal Appraisal District residents with septic systems who have seen their tax bills increase this year. CAD Chief Appraiser Lynn Rodgers said the increase—$4,000 per system — was designed to equalize a discrepancy between the value of properties with septic systems and properties with municipal water service. “This increase brought those prop erties up in line with other values in the county, making everyone’s valuations more equitable,” Rodgers said. Rodgers went on to explain that unimproved property is not as valuable as property with a septic system or water service connection. But once the property owner installs a septic system, the property grows in value, an increase unaccounted for until this year. Turner appealed the new charges to the appraisal district, but did not get them reduced. See SEPTIC Page 3A HAPPY BIRTHDAY AMERICA Independence Day parties planned throughout county %    ^    V*    * * rn    * • * • # ****** • .JI JI •« Al By Leigh Jones Staff Writer New Braunfels is hosting a citywide birthday bash July 4 as America turns 229 and the Plaza Bandstand hits the century mark. T he party kicks off at 9 a.m. with the annual patriotic parade, sponsored by the Sophienburg Museum. This year’s theme is “American Bandstand Centurion Celebration.” Organizer Stephanie Bergquist said the parade would be as much fun as ever. "Just come get in line and join the festivities,” she said, adding it would be best to let the museum know first if bringing a large group. But if sideline parade watchers are moved by a patriotic spirit to jump up and join the slow-moving line, the more the merrier. Bergquist promised first-class entertainment as antique cars, walkers and children on decorated bicycles wind their way along downtown streets. At IO a.m., the Comal Community Band will take a break from traditional national anthems to lead the crowd in “Happy Birthday,” accompanied by impromptu blasts from party favors provided by Main-street Partners and the Parks and Recreation Department. If one parade is not enough, three nearby communities are holding patriotic marches of their own. Garden Ridge will begin its July Fourth celebration with a community lunch at 11:15 a.m. The parade starts at 12:20 p.m. Seguing parade begins at IO a.m., followed by the traditional mayor’s luncheon. Schertz also will begin its town parade at IO a.m., with the gates to See EVENTS Page 8A S •    •    * * £ #• * .••*,.tv-    * f M rn    VT    %    • rn • » f-' M', • * v Vi * e ♦< mw: if»• ' 'rS' Photos by DAVID INGRAM and MANDY REARY/Herald-Zeitung Above, fireworks light up the night sky over New Braunfels during the Independence Day celebration last year. Left, Karen Richards, 4, waves her American flag as the Fourth of July parade passes by Main Plaza. Parade has been a mainstay in New Braunfels for IOO years By Melissa Johnson Staff Writer Mill Street San Antonio Street Since the first official July Bridge street Fourth celebration was held in New Braunfels in 1846, a lot has changed in the Plaza. Where cars now whiz around the traffic circle, citizens used to water their horses at the center fountain — much to the chagrin of local officials. During die 19th century, the area was known as “Our Park” because Joseph Landa had not yet opened his land to the public. Even up until the 1920s, the only open shop on Sunday was Widemann Produce, and traffic was Fourth off July Parade route 3 Bridge Start and end at the Sophienburg X Archives at the corner ol Seguin and two-way and included horses. In New Braunfels’ early days, the local Fourth of July celebration was See PARADE Page 8A Flooding a fact of life in Milltown By Leigh Jones Staff Writer Julia Gonzales is relieved the summer forecast calls for hot, dry days with not much chance for rain. When the sky opens and rain begins to hit the street outside her Milltown home, Gonzales prepares for the worst. “I get scared,” she admitted. “Every time it starts raining, we start to panic. One time I was alone and my son couldn’t get to me.” Milltown, the name given to the old neighborhood between the Plains Cotton Corporation Association mill and Loop 337, is the archetypal example of New Braunfels drainage woes. The neighborhood’s 1930s-era drainage infrastructure already is overloaded, and new developments continue to add impervious cover upstream. For years, Gonzales and her neighbors on Broadway have endured flood after flood, often during rainstorms that leave the rest of die town untouched by raging water. “The water comes from up there,” Gonzales said, pointing toward the Loop and Churchill Drive. As upstream development explodes and silt in old drainage ditches builds up, the water follows the path of least resistance — through residents’ front doors. See DRAINAGE Page 8A DAVID INGRAM/Herald-Zeitung Wright Avenue becomes a raging river with water flowing over the curb during heavy rai rains. Residents hope court ruling won’t impact their property By Leigh Jones StaffWriter Local farmer Korvan Kreusler took a break from his harvest Friday to look across his fields and wonder if they might one day become home to an industrial complex, against his will. After Thursday’s Supreme Court decision in the New London, Conn., property-rights case, Kreusler is worried the city could use the ruling to turn his land over to a developer for the community’s economic benefit. The high court ruled in favor of the city of New London, which wanted to use eminent domain to seize several homes in an area city council members wanted to replace with a commercial development, including a conference hotel and a walkway around the Thames River. In his majority opinion, justice john Paul Stevens expanded the traditional definition of public good — the criteria for enforcing eminent domain — to include economic development. “The city has already earmarked this land for industrial purposes," Kreusler said of the land around the airport. "So now, any business that wants to put up a warehouse See DOMAIN Page 3A County offers tax rebates to Ashley Furniture By Ron Maloney StaffWriter Comal County has extended a 10-year, 50-percent sales tax rebate to a furniture company that will bring 320 new jobs to New Braunfels and fill a facility vacated in 2002. I fill Country Furniture Partners will locate a distribution center in the larger of two former Flextronics buildings located on FM HOL The facility is expected to create 320 new jobs with an average hourly wage of more than $11. It could generate $80 million in sales for the remainder of this year and $ 140 million in the years following that will be taxed by local governments — albeit at half rate for IO years. TTie jobs and the sales tax revenues will be augmented by improvements that will See REBATES Page 3A The Sonier Group ERA - D. Lee Edwards Realty tit“Unmatched Attention For Your Real Estate Needs ” PROUDLY SERVING NEW BRAUNFELS & SURROUNDING COM M U N I T I E S Susan Sonier.. Jerry Sonier 830.832.8815    210.885.6188 Email: [email protected] MMM MMM Photo courtesy of the Sophienburg Museum 8r Archives Dr. Fred Willard drives a Model A Ford in the Fourth of July Parade in 1984. Champions TVvo New Braunfels little League teams will battle for championships during all-star games tonight ;