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New Braunfels Herald Zeitung (Newspaper) - March 8, 2000, New Braunfels, Texas NEWjfciHSIFE 'J / D 0 • n WI S1009 > c r rtf CRO vfiHwn- ...I V KiC ■KHerald-Zeitung        *Liii Vol. 149 No. 79    16    pages    in    2    sections    March    8,    2000 Wednesday Serving Comal County since 1852 50 cents Industries, individuals feeling the burn of Pumped up prices Brandy Rivers isn’t looking forward to predictions that she will be spending $40 to $50 to fill up her SUV by this summer. She’s thought about a smaller vehicle, but with her family, she said she needs the room her SUV provides. K. Jessie Slaten/Herald- Zeitung By Heather Todd Staff Writer A surge in prices at the gas pump to an unprecedented $ 1.80 per gallon this summer could mean bad news for local consumers and businesses alike. The pinch of high gas prices might be felt now, but local gasoline retailers and oil industry leaders say the worst could be yet to come. The United States Energy Department reported Monday U.S. retail gas prices reached a new record of $ 1.501 per unleaded gallon this week, up eight cents from last week and 58 cents a gallon higher than a year ago. Gas prices could jump another 20 cents by the end of May and soar higher during the summer driving season, Energy Department officials said. Motor fuel prices are rising because of high crude oil prices and tight petroleum supplies cause by the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries production cutbacks. Even if OPEC raises its output, the U.S. Energy Department said gasoline prices would reach a national average of $ 1.80 a gallon this summer. In New Braunfels, unleaded gas is going for between $ 1.39 and $ 1.45 per gallon. Some estimate that price could reach $1.70 locally by the beginning of the summer. Compared to the price of a gallon of gas this time last year — less than or around $ I — the recent surge in gas prices is creating a strain on many pocketbooks. When asked if he felt the pinch of the higher gas prices, San Antonio resident Ed Manta, who commutes from San Antonio to Austin everyday, said, “Who hasn’t?” “A year ago I was paying about 92 cents a gallon, now it’s up to $1.41 a gallon. Before a fill up cost me about $14, now it costs about $20 to fill up my car,” he said. Drivers can follow several tips to conserve gas, such as carpooling, cutting back on unneeded errands and combining trips, local gasoline retailers said. But, a forecasted rise in gas prices in the coming months could threaten some family vacations and cause financial hardships for some businesses. Allen Wilson, manager of a Chevron service station off Interstate 35, said higher prices this summer meant a greater likelihood of drive-offs — when gas customers leave without paying. High gas prices also could impact the summer tourism industry in New Braunfels, which relies on traveling Texans. “It’s going to hurt,” Wilson said. “When the kids are in town, they don’t care as long their pockets are filii of money. But, adults are different. I think it’s going to factor in, especially when they were paying $1 per gallon and See PUMPED/5A the most go The Family Health Research Council, a family, health and consumer research council, offers the following gas saving tips: ■ Car pool — it reduces travel monotony and gas expense. ■ Combine short errands into one trip. ■ Eliminate jackrabbit starts. Accelerate slowly when starting from dead stop. ■ Buy gasoline during the coolest time of day — early morning or late evening is best. During these times gasoline is densest. ■ Avoid filling gas tank to top. Overfilling results in sloshing over and out of tank. ■ Don’t start and stop engine needlessly. Idling your engine for one minute consumes the gas amount equivalent to when you start the engine. ■ Avoid “revving” the engine. ■ Avoid prolonged warming up of engine. ■ Keep windows closed when traveling at highway speeds. Open windows cause air drag, reducing your mileage by 10 percent. Crude oil prices West Texas intermediate crude settled at $31.69 March 2 after topping $32 a barrel. Daily closing prices for crude oil have been at their highest levels since it closed at $32 on Jan. 16,1991. Here is a look at the monthly closes since January 1991. —— March 2, 2000 $31. i 99 OO Energy officials working with OPEC to avoid gas price spike Source: New York Mercantile Exchange AP By Pauune Arrillaga Associated Press Writer James McKenna isn’t too worried that gas prices could go as high as $ 1.80 per gallon this summer. That might sound odd coming from the top tourism official in Lake Placid, N. Y., a vacation spot that even he calls a “rubber-tire destination.” McKenna estimates that tourists driving up from New York City would pay about $8 more in gas each way should prices increase. In todays booming economy, he said, that’s still a bargain. “You can’t even get a glass of wine for eight bucks,” he said. The Energy Department on Monday predicted that gasoline prices, already averaging about $ 1.50 for a gallon for unleaded, would spike at $ 1.75 to $ 1.80 this summer because production isn’t keeping pace with demand. Energy Secretary Bill Richardson said prices of $ 1.75 or more are not a certainty this summer. It likely depends on how much the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries will allow oil production to increase, he said. “Hopefully, we are going to avoid” See OPEC/3A Bush wins five primaries By Ron Fournier AP Political Writer Cruising across the regions, George W. Bush won five Republican presidential primary victories Tuesday in an accelerating drive to vanquish John McCain’s political insurgency. “It’s a huge step toward the nomination,” the Texas governor said as McCain struggled to broaden his challenge beyond independent-minded New England. Bush won in Ohio, Georgia, Missouri and Maryland — and broke McCain’s BUSH hold on the Northeast with a victory in Maine. McCain won in Massachusetts, Rhode Island and Vermont as voters in 13 states participated in the year’s largest night of Republican presidential contests. Bush said he did not consider himself the certain nominee. “Tonight’s going to be a good night,” he said, “but my frame of mind is to keep moving.” Forging familiar coalitions, Bush relied MCCAIN on party faithful while McCain drew from independents and moderate Republicans. McCain’s gamble of criticizing conservative Christian leaders may have backfired in key states, while Bush’s visit to a South Carolina university with a history of anti-Catholic views seemed to be a beneficial campaign issue for McCain in some states. With Super Tuesday voting, the general election began to take shape: Vice President Al Gore was bidding to sweep 16 Democratic contests to push Sen. Bill Bradley to the brink of withdrawal. McCain’s situation was not as dire, but his candidacy was flagging with a tough week of contests lying just ahead. Gore pushes Bradley further from nomination By David Espo AP Political Writer Al Gore swept past Bill Bradley in an unbroken string of states on Super Tuesday, pushing his rival to the brink of withdrawal in the Democratic presidential campaign. “In this election, we are the party of the mainstream,” tile vice president said, turning his focus to the general election. Gore won from New York to Georgia to Ohio and at several stops in between, regularly gaining 60 percent of the vote or more. He also bid for victory in California, the biggest prize on the busiest night of the primary season. “He won. I lost,” Bradley said succinctly. He telephoned Gore with his congratulations, and said he would announce his plans on Thursday. Polling place interviews with voters in every region of the country underscored the vice president’s strength among core constituencies vital in Democratic primaries. Blacks and Hispanics preferred Gore over Bradley by a margin of 8-1; the margin among union members was smiler, but a healthy 3-1. Bradley fared better among independents. Victim’s fiance testisfies in Ytuarte sexual assault trial By Heather Todd Staff Writer The fiance of a New Braunfels woman took the stand Tuesday in the trial of the local man accused of raping her. A seven-woman, five-man jury heard opening statements and testimony from local and state law enforcement officials Tuesday in the first day of 23-year old Jerald Ytuarte’s sexual assault trial. Ytuarte is accused of breaking into the victim’s apartment and sexually assaulting her in the early morning hours of July I, 1999. A Comal County grand jury indicted Ytu arte Jan. 5 on one count of sexual assault and one count of burglary of a habitation. Sexual assault is a second-degree felony. Because of the underlying sexual assault charge, the burglary of a habitation charge is a first-degree felony. If convicted, Ytuarte could face life or up to 99 years in prison and an optional fine up to $10,000. Ytuarte remains in custody at the Comal County Jail in lieu of a $75,000 bond. He was arrested July 20, 1999. Ed Jendrzey, Comal County assistant district attorney, told jurors Tuesday the victim came home about midnight July I, 1999, after a night out with friends when two men approached her in the parking lot of her apartment complex and tried to engage her in conversation. The men followed the victim up to her second-floor apartment and continued to talk to her until she went inside her apartment and locked the door, Jendrzey said. The victim’s fiance, who was her boyfriend at the time of the alleged attack, testified the victim called him after midnight “very distressed” about two men in the parking lot who seemed “over anxious to get to know her.” “She was a little concerned because she was there by herself” he said. The fiance, who lives in Galveston Coun ty, said while he was talking to her on the phone he heard someone knocking on her door. After discussing calling the police, the woman spoke through the door and the men outside the door were the same men from the parking lot, the fiance testified. She convinced the men to leave and she hung up the phone about 1:30 a.m., her fiance testified. He said she called him again at 3 a.m. “Her words to me were ‘He raped me,’” he testified. During opening arguments, Jendrzey saidSee TRIAL/5A Inside Abby......................... .......5A Classifieds.................. ...5-8B Comics....................... .......2B Crossword.................. .......5A Forum......................... .......6A Local/Metro................ .......4A Movies.......................... ........5A Obituaries................... ........3A Sports........................ ....7-8A Today......................... .......2A Television........................ .........2B www.herald-zeitung. com Key Code 76 ;