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  • Location: New Braunfels, Texas
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New Braunfels Herald Zeitung (Newspaper) - June 29, 2000, New Braunfels, Texas Herald rn mum tag** .‘/a**-**! v CV'. '•••• ’ .- VAT VvV'“  ~ 1 "  "  1; ' •' "    ■ - ' " ' ^ \' ‘  :  - ' ~~1 Vol. 149 No. 159    14    pages    in    2    sections    June    29,    2000    rn    .    ‘    -ai    County    since    1852    50    cents■,hi'< v:„    "V*    ■3    .    .    ■    ; VA- By Heather Todd Staff Writer Officials soliciting private developers for a new office park complex in New Braunfels fear that a proposal to eliminate the city’s economic development sales tax ultimately could kill the project. Michael Meek, president of the Greater New Braunfels Chamber of Commerce, Inc., said councilwoman Debbie Flume’s proposal to abolish the 4A sales tax also could threaten development of a higher education facility here, pending results of a feasibility study. Flume said if the projects were really important, council could look at alternative ways of funding them. “At this point though, I think our street and drainage projects are more important than an office park,” she said. “You have to be able to offer a good quality of life to attract white-collar jobs.” On Monday, Flume proposed asking voters to consider eliminating the economic development sales tax and adopting a sales tax in its place for property tax reduction. Council voted to postpone any action until its July 12. meeting. The Economic Development Corporation recommends how the city should spend 1/8 of the city’s 1.5-percent sales tax. The 4A board uses that money to help existing businesses or to attract new businesses. Currently, funds from the 4A board are used to help finance a project to develop a new office park complex in New Braunfels as well as a $60,000 feasibility study on the community’s higher education needs. The chamber and Texas Perspectives, See OFFICE PARK/5A MEEKInside Abby................................7A Classifieds.......................4-6B Comics..............................3B Crossword........................7A Forum.................................6A Local/Metro........................4A Movies.................................7A Obituaries...........................3A Sports............................1-2B Today.................................2A Key Code 76 Water Restrictions ■ New Braunfels Utilities customers with addresses ending in 6, 7, 8 or 9 can water today after 7 p.m. Well users with addresses ending in 6 or 7 can water today after 8 p.m. Word: Utility relocations reason for 1-35 construction delays By Jo Lee Ferguson Staff Writer The company responsible for part of the Interstate 35 road construction points to problems with utility relocations as the reason the project is behind schedule. On Wednesday the Business Advisory and Transportation Committees of the Greater New Braunfels Chamber of Commerce held the first of a series of meetings to update residents on the $93 million project to widen 1-35. Dean Word, whose company, the Dean Word Company, is responsible for the construction from a half-mile south of Solms Road to a half-mile north of Walnut Avenue, attended Wednesday’s meeting. He said his company has encountered “constant struggles” with hitting utility lines. “Right now, if you look at the percent complete versus time charge, we are behind schedule,” he said. “On the surface that may look bad, but the fact is that we have not presented the state yet with a time-impact analysis on the utility holdups that we’ve encountered constantly throughout the job.” The delays will push the completion several months past the original May 2002 completion date, he said. The first phase of the construction is to rebuild the outside of the frontage roads. “Unfortunately, the outside of the frontage road is where the lion share of all the buried utilities are ” Word said, and those utilities have to be relocated for the construction. The company has had problems hitting telephone, cable, water and sewer lines. Word said that the utility companies’ plans do not always accurately reflect where the lines are. Also, the expansion and contraction of the soil may cause the lines to move from their original locations, he said. However, he said the project is “finally” getting to the stage where “we can go in there and do what we do best, which is build roads.” Once the outsides of the frontage roads are complete the businesses will have driveways and the curbs and storm sewers will be complete. “I’m sorry about how bad it’s been, but really, to a large extent it hasn’t been under my control. I’ve been at the mercy of the utility relocates.” Deavers Construction is handling the portion of the construction project from north of Walnut Avenue to north of FM 725. Word, whose portion of the construction is actually two projects, said the three projects probably weren’t designed to be under construction at the same time. New Braunfels has few Interstate 35 crossings, and the construction is straining crosstown traffic, Word said. TxDOT Project Managers Linda Grimsley and Ben Englehardt provided updates on' the construction projects: • Word Construction is building a newSee I-35/8A FELS Flume’s plan could threaten office park Trustees break ground on SVHS expansion By Ron Maloney Staff Writer SMITHSON VALLEY — Dan Krueger wore a special, colorful tie at the groundbreaking Wednesday morning for the $16.5 million expansion at Smithson Valley High School. But the former Comal school board president didn’t do it to celebrate the new project. Instead, it was a gesture to honor the late Jim Pfluger, the architect who designed the unique project. The architect was known for his many colorful ties, Krueger said. Pfluger, of Austin, died a month and a half ago in a plane crash. “Jim poured his heart and soul into this project,” said Krueger, vice chair of the Comal school board of trustees. The expansion, which includes a distinctive rotunda, 32 new classrooms, a library, cafeteria, gym, band hall and theatre, will help SVHS accommodate up to 2,000 students. “An incredible amount of man-hours, of planning, went into this facility,” Krueger said. “It’s a great layout and design. We look See SVHS/5A Comal Independent School District board of trustees vice chairman Dan Krueger addresses the audience at the groundbreaking Wednesday morning for $16.5 million in expansions and renovations to Smithson Valley High School. SVHS JROTC Cadet Seaman Apprentice Ryan Matueka of Bulverde stands at parade rest behind the Texas flag. RON MALONEY/ Herald-Zeitung “I don’t understand why somebody out there would want to hurt him. The door to his church is always open.” — Elida Villagomez, New Braunfels Archbishop released Faithful pray as religious leader is kept hostage for nine hours " ‘St- Uomttb III MiCH    W®fp- By Jo Lee Ferguson Staff Writer K. JESSIE SLATEN/Herald-Zeitung Manuel Saldibar and others gathered Wednesday from many different churches across from the Chancery Office in San Antonio to pray for a peaceful outcome to the hostage situation. Elida Villagomez, top right, stands outside Holy Family Church in New Braunfels with a sign asking passers-by to pray for Archbishop Flores. By late afternoon, signs hung all around the church’s fence. lagomez, her two daughters and mother stationed themselves at Hidalgo Avenue and Spur Street near the Holy Family Church in New Braunfels. They held up signs to passing motorists, asking them to pray with them for the archbishop. Flores has always been there for her, Villagomez said. “Now, my father needs someone, and I need to gather people to pray for him,” she said. Flores was kept hostage at the Chancery Office for the Archdiocese of San Antonio, and many there had the same thoughts as Villagomez. A group of men, women and children of various races gathered across the street from the chancery and recited a constant string of prayers as they clutched rosary beads and pictures of Jesus. More than IOO people, including local and national media, camped on the lawns of the houses across from the chancery See ARCHBISHOP/8A SAN ANTONIO — A man claiming to be armed with a grenade released Archbishop Patrick Flores after holding him hostage for about nine hours Wednesday. Flores was taken to the hospital but appeared to be unharmed, news reports said, something that many in the area had constantly prayed for since Flores was first taken hostage. _ “I don’t ■ Flores the    understand why trailblazer/8A    s o m e b o d y __would want to K. JESSIE SLATEN/ Herald-Zeitung Frank Rodarte came by for an appointment at the Chancery office Tuesday but soon found himself passing out rosary beads to those praying for Flores. hurt him,” Elida Villagomez of New Braunfels said. “The door to his church is always open.” The suspect, who police identified as 40-year-old Nelson Antonio Escolero, was reportedly upset over his possible deportation for driving with a suspended license. Police said Escolero was angry with his unemploy ment, the return of Elian Gonzalez to Cuba and what he described as his mistreatment by government authorities over his immigration status. Escolero, who is an El Salvador native and a legal resident of the United States, was taken away in handcuffs. While Flores was held hostage, Vil- ;