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New Braunfels Herald Zeitung (Newspaper) - March 12, 1999, New Braunfels, Texas AV FELS o n o 3 2 n 0 0 9 1.0 / 22 / 9 '■•I so - USE ST M IC RO PU BL I SI 11 NG 26 2 7 E Y(ANDELL DR EL POSO, TX 7990 Herald-Zeit un g Vol. 148, No. 80    22    pages    in    2    sections    March    12,    1999 Friday Serving Comal County since 1852 SO cents Fire threat leads to Bush emergency declarationTwo-thirds of state urged to conserve water, reduce wildfire risk From staff and wire reports AUSTIN - Gov. George W. Bush declared a state of emergency Thursday in Comal and 166 other Texas counties because of fire dangers caused by a persistent drought that has extended through an abnormally dry winter. Bush said Texans needed to act now to “Much of Texas has had a very dry winter; forecasters predict a dry spring, and we know our summers are dry in Texas.” Gov. George W.Bush conserve water, reduce fire risks and position firefighting equipment and personnel in areas of danger. “The drought has a head start on most of Texas this year, and we must be prepared to conserve water and prevent fires today,” Bush said. “Much of Texas has had a very dry winter, forecasters predict a dry spring, and we know our summers are dry in Texas. AU this adds up to a drought that could be as bad or worse than the devastation we experienced last year.” Comal County Commissioner Jack Dawson said the county officially had not been notified of the governor’s proclamation, but he agreed action was needed. He said the county imposed a ban on outdoor burning on March I. He said the county had no ordinance making power to order water conservation. “The only thing we can do is recommend that residents be as frugal as possible with water resources,” Dawson said. More than IOO firefighters worked for five days to snuff out a brush fire near Fischer earlier this month. The fire scorched more than 3,000 acres in Comal and Hays counties. The 1998 drought parched cropland and sparked hundreds of wildfires around die state. Carl Anderson, agricultural extension economist at Texas A&M University, reported two weeks ago that this past yearns drought reduced farm and ranch production values by more than $2.4 billion from 1997. Anderson said Thursday that dry weather this year had gotten an even earlier start. Bush said he was asking President Clinton for an emergency declaration to help the state ready firefighting teams and gear. Grace under fire CISD votes for teacher pay raises ROBIN CORNETT /Herald-Zesting Grace Preiss is showing goats “Socks” and “Smokey” at the 31 st Annual Comal County Junior Livestock Show and Sale. The livestock show and sale continue through Saturday at the Comal County Fairgrounds. Today’s Events The 31 st annual Comal County Junior Livestock Show continues today: SHEEP: Judging today at 9 a.m. CATTLE: Judging today at 1:30 p.m. RABBITS: Judging today at 8 a.m. BROILERS: Judging today at 8 a.m. TURKEYS: Judging today at 8 a.m. The sale and auction is set for 1 p.m. Saturday at the Comal County Fairgrounds. SVHS student learning the ropes of showing goats By Heather Tooo Staff Writer They range in age from 9 to 18 years old, but they all come for the same purpose - to prove their animals have the right stuff. Grace Preiss is just one of several hundred area youth who have spent the past three days at Comal County Fairgrounds trying to win big at the 31st Annual Comal County Junior Livestock Show and Sale. Only in her second year with stock shows, the Smithson Valley High School sophomore has demonstrated grace under fire. “Socks” and “Smokey,” the two billies Grace entered in the stock show, placed seventh and fifth, respectively. “Socks,” so named for his white forelegs in contrast to his dark brown coloring, earned a white ribbon and garnered the honor of reserve senior champion showmanship. “Smokey,” named for his blue-gray coloring, earned a red ribbon. Grace also raises rabbits, five of which are waiting for their chance at fame during today’s judging. See GRACE/5A Trustees approve cut in minimum graduation credits By Heather Tooo Staff Writer Comal Independent School District board of trustees performed serious number crunching Thursday night. CISD trustees unanimously approved a $3,000 across-the-board pay raise for teachers, librarians and nurses in the 1999-2000 school year in a 6-0 vote. Board president Dan K. Krueger was not present. The salary increases will cost the district about $2.5 million. The board also approved reducing the required number of credits from 24 to 22 for minimum graduation plan. The decision would affect incoming ninth-grade students in 1999-2000. The reduced credits will save the district $500,000 in additional teaching staff. The district is expecting an increase in high school students next year and currently is sitting at the state maximum rate - $ 1.50 per $ I OO valuation — for maintenance and operations. A deficit of about $900,000 is reflected in the district’s proposed 1999-2000 budget. The decision to increase teacher salaries answered the pleas of teachers, students and parents who continually have asked the board to provide more financial support to personnel. Under the 1998-99 salary schedule, CISD teacher salaries were among the lowest in surrounding counties. Under the approved changes, the minimum salary for a teacher with a bachelor’s degree will be $26,500 and the maximum for a teacher with 31 or more years of experience will be $44,250. The entry-level salary with a master's degree will be $27,000, and the maximum will be $44,750. Trustee Scott Watson made a motion to change the administrative proposal to reflect a $1,000 pay difference between teachers with bachelor's degrees and teachers with master's degrees. Superintendent Jerry Major said the salary adjustment would cost an additional $105,000. The new minimum graduation plan adopted by the board will fall in line with the state-man-dated minimum plan. The plan cuts out credits including: one fine arts credit; two foreign language credits; one credit each of social studies and science; and one-half credit of study skills. The half credit of study skills also would be dropped from the recommended and distinguished plans for incoming freshmen. Students can graduate under three graduation plans - minimum, recommended and distinguished. Only 18 to 25 percent of high school students opt for the minimum plan. Discussion on the proposed minimum graduation plan was stalled by trustees who were concerned about dropping two foreign language credit but requiring Individual and Family Life and Preparation for Parenting. A motion by Watson to make these courses electives failed. The board approved the recommended changes in a 4-2 vote with Watson and Robert Loop opposed to the changes. House OKs oil bill AUSTIN (AP) — The Texas House gave final approval to a $45 million tax break for struggling oil producers Thursday, sending the measure to Gov. George W. Bush to be signed into law. The bill’s passage — by a vote of 128-8 — hands Bush his first major piece of legislation of the year. He is expected to sign the bill immediately. Oil producers say the tax break is essential to saving jobs that otherwise would be lost due to slumping oil prices. The measure will keep marginal wells — that provide millions in property tax revenue to local school districts — from being shut down, the bill’s supporters say. \ Inside Abby.......................... ......7A Business...................... ......5A Classifieds.................... .4-1 OB Comics........................ ......8A Crossword................... ......7A Forum.......................... ......6A Local............................ ......4A Obits............................ ......3A Sports.......................... ...1-4B Today.......................... ......2A Television.................... 8A Milton files for CISD post in District 4 By Heather Tooo Staff Writer A third Canyon I-ake resident joined the race for a seat on the Comal Independent School District board of trustees Wednesday. William “Bill” Milton, a 12-year resident of Comal County, filed for a place on the single member district four ballot. Positions on the board of trustees for single member districts three and four are up for grabs in a May I trustee election. Milton is the fifth candidate to throw his hat in the ring for the two CISD board seats. Doug Nail, the current representative for district four, cannot run for re-election because he moved out of his district. Nail ran against Canyon Lake resident Thomas Bruce iii 1996. Single member district four includes areas east and south of Canyon Lake. Milton is running against John Welch and John Bertelsen for the district four seat. Milton said growth in district student enrollment and facility needs were key issues for the future of CISD. “I’ve been here 12 years and watched as the number of students has grown slowly, then rapidly, then sky rocketed,” he said. “As a trustee, I’d like to help monitor the amount of taxes patrons pay and student growth in the district and make sure there are facilities to support them.” Milton said he also was interested in See CISQftA ;