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New Braunfels Herald Zeitung (Newspaper) - March 6, 2003, New Braunfels, Texas New Braunfels THURSDAY March 6, 2003 12 pages in 2 sectionsHerald-Zeitung Vol. 152, No. 97 Serving New Braunfels and Comal County since 1852 ■■■■a 50 centsOfficials rule Austin man’s death a suicide By Ron Maloney Staff Writer Officials have ruled the death of a 56-year-old Austin man found shot Friday night outside New Braunfels a suicide — and said he staged a crime scene in an attempt to cover it up. James M. Webber died at 1:02 p.m. Monday at Brooke Army Medical Center fromNBISD drafts new contractor agreement By Sean Bowlin Staff Writer New Braunfels Independent School District officials have drafted a contract between themselves, their bonding company and a new construction company — and they’re ready to submit it so work on the Memorial Schools can resume. “What this means to the district is we’re now in a position to move forward,” NBISD Board of Trustees President D. Lee Edwards said. “We have a draft agreement to enter into. We have just minor tweaking that needs to be done, and, of course, we still have to get our contract negotiated and agreed to.” Best Construction Services is the contractor, Edwards said. Its operated by Sam Best and is well-recommended and recognized in takeover agreements. NBISD Superintendent Ron Reaves said after Wednesday’s two-hour meeting, “I think the board has taken a step forward to rectify the matter and get the Memorial projects moving, and now that we’ll be looking at working with Best Construction services we look forward to this getting on line as quickly as possible.” In October 2002, trustees approved a takeover agreement with Commercial Indemnity Insurance Company to finish renovation work on the Memorial Schools begun by Associated Able Inc. Board members terminated the district’s construction contract with Associated Able in September 2002 after the bonding company declared the company in default of its contract. complications stemming from a gunshot wound to the chest. Comal County Sheriff’s detective Sgt. Tbmmy Ward said the Bexar County Medical Examiner’s Office has ruled the gunshot wound selfinflicted. “Based on the evaluation of all the evidence gathered in this case and the findings at autopsy, this death will be ruled a suicide. The evidence gathered up to this point indicates the gun shot wound was self-inflicted,” Ward said. Webber was found at 11:20 p.m. Friday night beside his truck on Conrads Lane north of New Braunfels. Deputies found a .22 caliber rifle near Webber as they initiated first aid. Webber told the deputies he had picked up a hitchhiker, and that the hitchhiker had shot him. As New Braunfels Fire Department paramedics treated Webber and took him to BAMC, the Comal County Sheriff’s Office dispatched detectives to investigate the scene and the reported aggravated robbery. Sheriff’s detective Sgt. Tbmmy Ward and detective Ronnie Womack worked the scene while detective Wayne Lehman followed Webber to BAMC to interview him about what took place. Right away, detectives believed there were problems. “The statements Mr. Webber made to'the deputies who responded and to the investigating detectives did not correspond with the evidence at the scene or the injury that was sustained,” Ward said. Ultimately, he added, detectives determined the scene had been staged to make the shooting appear as though it had been a robbery. “Our job is to find out what See SUICIDE/7ALaw enforcement agencies seize Ortiz Rec Center in drug investigation Inside K. JESSIE SLATEN/Heraid-Zeitung New Braunfels police officer Jeff Childs (center) and an undercover narcotics officers (left) leave the bar of Paul M. Ortiz (right) after seizing the Ortiz Rec Center bar and its contents Wednesday afternoon as part of an investigaton of drug possession charges against Ortiz. By Ron Maloney Staff Writer Legal troubles mounted Wednesday for the New Braunfels bar owner arrested in January on drug possession and resisting arrest allegations. Comal County Sheriff’s detective Capt. Dennis Koepp said officers from several law enforcement agencies seized the Ortiz Rec Center, formerly the Black Cat Bar, in the 200 block of West San Antonio Street. Paul M. Ortiz, 45, owns the bar and the historic building it is located in, which is appraised at $66,770 by the Comal Appraisal Disu let. New Braunfels police arrested Ortiz Jan. 18 for the alleged possession of between four ounces and five pounds of marijuana. The marijuana and a related evading arrest aUegation are state jail felonies punishable by a fine of up to $10,000 and up to two years in a state jail. Just before the arrest, Ortiz aUegedly led the officers on a chase through the city and then threw the marijuana into the business. A third charge of not having insurance on the truck he allegedly fled in is a misdemeanor. Ortiz turned himself in Feb. I to face an additional charge of possession of gambling paraphernalia in connection with property allegedly seized at the bar. The charge is a class A misdemeanor punishable by up to one year in county jail and a $4,000 fine. The truck and an unstated but reportedly “large” amount of cash found in a plastic bag in the truck were confiscated when Ortiz was arrested. The business was not seiztni when the arrest was made, Koepp said. “As we didn’t physically take the building then, we sought a seizure warrant,” Koepp said. Officers of the Comal County Metropolitan Narcotics Tksk Force obtained a seizure warrant from County Court-at-law Judge Brenda Chap- Abby.................... Classifieds 5A 2-4B Comics................ 8A Crossword ...............5A Forum................ 4A Movies ..........5A Obituanes........ ...............3A Sports ............1-2B Today.................. ..............2A man. See SEI2E/7A Key Code 76 ■56826 00001 Residents express confusion over point of hearings Pinto: They could change board’s mind By Dylan Jimenez Staff Writer The New Braunfels Infrastructure/Improvement Corporation Board of Directors invited public input Wednesday on two economic development initiatives already endorsed by the board. The special meeting was protocol since the board conducted no official public hearing before approving $660,000 worth of taxpayer money for economic development. One of the initiatives was a request already granted by city council for a $600,000 loan to Moll Industries Inc., a plastics injections molder coming out of bankruptcy, to assist with expenses incurred from relocating to the old Flextronics plant in New Braunfels. The other initiative was hiring consultant firm TIP Strategies Inc. to work with the city to attract supporting industries for the proposed Tbyota plant in San Antonio. City council asked for public input before it approved the Moll Industries loan in February, and the 4B board repeatedly asked for public input during a special meeting to consider the hiring of TIP Strategies. However, since the 4B board had not called official public hearings on these two Issues, Wednesday’s special meeting was necessary before the city could spend 4B funds. See HEARINGS/7A Standards could mean longer life for streets By Dylan Jimenez Staff Writer New Braunfels streets being repaired and constructed after May should have a longer life than streets built before them. Though city engineer Mike Short said its hard to say how long the average city road has lasted or will last, the city has adopted tougher standards for its streets. Tuesday the New Braunfels Planning Commission adopted the standards that came recommended by both the city engineer and the subdivision committee. The standards in part come as a result of developers’ requests for standards to make subdivision roads consistent. “We’ll finally have something when somebody comes in and says ‘How do you guys do streets here,’ we can give ’em this packet,” Mike Norris of the subdivision committee said. City ordinance also calls for standards to be set by the city engineer. In the past, those standards have not been set. “The need was to formalize these requirements and take it through the process of an ordinance,” Norris said. Officials have been using the city’s master plan to determine street standards, but those standards are general and do not take into account engineering principles, Short said. See STANDARDS/7AAsh Wednesday services K. JESSIE SLATEN/Heraid-Zeitung As the final Ash Wednesday sen/ice at Sts. Peter and Paul comes to a close, Msgr. Eugene O’Callahan places ashes on the forehead of 6-year-old Rilie Eubeh. Deacon Ben Wehman said that although the church comfortably seats about 1,100, parisioners were asked to squeeze a little closer together for the overflow of worshippers that came to all four of the day’s services. ;