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New Braunfels Herald Zeitung (Newspaper) - March 2, 2000, New Braunfels, Texas BEST AVAILABLE COPY N ew (Braunfels „ V’AVH* ,lApv\ BV '• 20'^'rtc T Y\l^P\ D« so-^ OO \ SVHERALD-ZEiI ONG Vol. 149 No. 75    14    pages    in    2    sections    March    2,    2000 Thursday Serving Comal County since 1852 50 cent1Chamber surveys members on bond propositions By Peri Stone-Palmquist Staff writer Results of a survey sent out this past week could give the city a peek at how seven bond propositions w ill fare May 6. The Greater New Braunfels Chamber of Commerce, Inc. sent out more than 1,700 surveys asking members to check yes or no to the seven bond propositions. Surveys are due back Wednes- Political party for secession to meet in NB By Erin Magruder Staff Writer A new political party advocating Texas’ peaceful secession from the United States chose New Braunfels for its first statewide party caucus this weekend at the Faust Hotel, 240 S. Seguin Ave. Members of the Southern Party of Texas invite interested residents to attend a reception beginning at 7 p.m. Friday and a discussion on southern heritage issues and other party activities from 8 a m. to noon Saturday at the Faust Hotel, said Jaye K. Curtis, party' vice-chairman of communications. “We would like anyone of any race and creed who loves and supports the South and wants to re-establish the constitutional government of Texas to attend,” Curtis said. “The people of New Braunfels are know n for their kindness, and they are also the kind of people we would like to appeal to.” The party, which was formed in August, also will have a closed session Saturday afternoon where members w ill elect permanent executive committee members, approve bylaws and covenants and elect delegates to attend the Southern Party national convention — whose date and location have yet to be announced. Any new party members can attend the closed session and vote in the election, Curtis said. Saturday morning’s activities also will feature poetry readings and guest speakers, including Southern Party of Texas Chairman Patrick Leslie, Southern Party of Virginia Chairman Jerry Baxley and Southern Party of Tennessee Chairman Madison Cook. The Southern Party of Texas is a branch of the 8,000-member Southern Party formed in August 1999 in Asheville, N.C. Disillusioned with the federal gov- See PARTY/8A Inside Abby................................5A Classifieds.......................5-6B Comics...............................3B Crossword..........................5A Forum.................................6A Local/Metro........................4A Movies..................................5A Obituaries...........................3A Sports............................1-2B Today.................................2A Television..................................3B Key Code 76 day and w ill be made public before the election. “It’ll give us an idea on how the election will go.” Mayor Stoney Williams said. But the city' won’t respond to the results of the survey, he said. “The city isn't going to promote the bond” he said. “We just put the propositions on the ballot and the citizens can decide from there.” The chamber might not formally respond to the results either, chair of the board Dennis Heitkamp said. “We really respond to our members,” he said. If the membership comes out 50-50 on something, the executive committee probably wouldn’t consider formally supporting it, he said. “But if the membership comes out I OO percent for a proposition, we’d definitely consider formal support,” he said. The executive committee already was “pretty comfortable” support ing Proposition I — $ 11 million toward street and drainage improvements, Heitkamp said. “That was kind of a given.” he said. In previous surveys, chamber members have listed infrastructure and drainage as top concerns, especially after the October 1998 Hood. The chamber board was not so comfortable offering support on the other six propositions, how ever. “They sounded good but some people had questions,” Heitkamp said. The six propositions include: • $700,000 for a police communication system; • $2.5 million for fire department improvements and equipment; •$1.14 million for park improvements; • $2.63 million for sports complex; • $7.25 million for activity center; and • $7.5 million for Walnut Street improvements. Chamber president Michael Meek said the board could mil reach consensus on these propositions. “As it stands today the only thing we have consensus on is Proposition I,” he said. “We decided it wasn’t wise to take a stance on the other propositions until we consulted the membership.” Five seek Pct. 4 constable position By Erin Magruder Staff Writer With just two weeks until voters cast their ballots in the March 14 primary election, the Republican race for Constable Pct. 4 is heating up. Five candidates Wylie I. Queen, Ben Seroggin, Lee I Iemandez, J. Ronald “Star” Carey and Jim Higdon are QUEEN vying for the spot left vacant by constable Ld Mullins this year. The winner in the primary will be unopposed in the Nov. 7 general election and will represent the Canyon Lake area. Two of the candidates running for the posi-tion— which pays an annual salary of $20,396 are certified peace officers. Hernandez, 52, has lived in the Canyon Lake area for more than 20 yeai and became a certified peace officer in 1989. Hernandez has served as the chief deputy constable in Pct. I for 381 the past three years. I Ie also spent six years as a corrections officer at the Comal County Jail and was a Garden Ridge Police Department officer for three years. Hernandez also is a licensed vocational nurse. I lernandez said he is a qualified candidate for the position because of his background in law enforcement and his understanding of the job requirements. “The job would be relatively going from Precinct I to Precinct 4,” Hernandez said. “As constable, you have to assume liability for the people you serve, and you have to understand how to execute civil processes.” lf elected, Hernandez said one of his focuses would be to increase the visibility of law enforcement in the community to deter criminal activity. For the past 12 years, Higdon hies worked as a deputy constable in Bexar County. I Ie is a certified peace officer and water safety officer and has an See CONSTABLES SCROGGIN HIGDON HERNANDEZ Hands-on learning Students experience science at Natural Bridge Caverns BY K. JESSIE SLATEN Herald-Zeitung Photographer Romping through the humid depths of the largest show cave in Texas, Memorial Primary kindergartners experienced geology, hydrology and earth science first -hand Wednesday. Group after group of 5 and 6 year olds traversed the winding cavern walkway under the earth they studied in their classrooms. Teachers and parents seemed to enjoy the outing too, watching small eyes grow w ide as students came upon each new cave. “They’re just filled with wonder,” teacher Mattie Wackwitz said. ■ “At this point learning for them is a joy.” Patient guides pointed out massive formations with whimsical names and explained the importance of conservation of natural resources to tile students. Classes such as Wackwitz’s have been studying geology for the hands-on trip. “They've been learning about how the earth was formed, the different layers of the earth, the importance of soil erosion... "said Wackw itz. “They really absorbed it.” Natural Bridge Caverns has become a major destination spot in Texas, and according to ow ner Joye Wuest, has a “very good school business, especially in the tri-county area.” From pre-K to college, school groups come to study treasures offered by the caverns. “We try to gear the level of information to the age of the group,” said Wuest. A learning packet available to teachers helps in their preparation of studies. A short videotape on the cavern also is available at each local school library. K. JESSIE SLATEN/Herald-Zeitung Chase Akeroyd (above) struggles to reach the top platform of the Natural Bridge Caverns dinosaur Wednesday. Few of the kindergartners used the more sensible stairs to reach the “monster’s” head. See LEARNING/8A Memorial Primary students (left) viewed formations of stalagmites, totem poles and fried eggs in their trek through the caverns. ;