New Braunfels Herald Zeitung (Newspaper) - March 13, 2004, New Braunfels, Texas
Serving New Braunfels and Comal County since 1852
SATURDAY, MARCH 13, 2004
‘ 30% chance for rain
Details .... 1B
Texas, the National Laboratory for Bad Government,' provides case study on how to destroy public schools. Pago 4A
Vol. 153, No. 106 12 pages, 2 sections
herald-zeitung.com j a ,,56825 00001
Canyon boys beat New Braunfels, 1-0. Page SA
For peace • officers.
is a rough-and-tumble
Tests: Infant had drugs in his system
Police say family members‘could be suspects’in 16-month-old’s death
By Ron Maloney
The 16-month-old New Braunfels boy found dead under suspicious circumstances early in December had cocaine and another drug in his bloodstream.
Police Lt. Mike Rust confirmed Friday that a Dec. 3 autopsy showed Brandon Lee Robbins ll had cocaine and methadone in his system when he died, which for police raises more questions — and more avenues for investigation.
“Right now, everyone in that household could be considered a suspect,” Rust said.
The infant lived with his mother and father, grandfather and another minor child, Rust said.
“If anyone has any information in this case, wed be
glad to listen to it as in any case,” Rust said.
Detectives are awaiting test results on possible evidence taken at the home. When that information is available, Rust said police would forward the results of their investigation to the district attorney’s office.
“It ll be reviewed there and if there are any charges to be filed, they will be presented to the grand jury,” Rust said.
Precinct 3 Justice of the Peace Diana Campos ordered the autopsy performed by the Bexar County Medical Examiner's Office.
Rust said it showed an inconclusive cause of death, although in addition to the drugs, the baby was found to have suffered “minor blunt force trauma to the head.”
“The manner of death has
See DRUGS Page 3A
Councilman wants temporary halt to outfitter expansion
By Scott Mahon
Prohibiting river outfitters from expanding until parking ordinances are changed would keep a bad traffic problem from getting worse, District 6 Councilman Ken Valentine said.
Valentine said inadequate parking at tube rental companies and Schlitterbahn has compounded the problem riverside neighborhoods face.
“A Liberty Avenue tube rental company is expanding, and city staff determined only eight parking spaces are needed even though they have hundreds of all-dav customers," Valentine said. “ I he city doesn’t have an adequate rule to deter mine the number of parking places for tube rental companies nor for amusement parks like Schlitterbahn. In fact, Schlitterbahn had a 23 percent increase in customers last year, but didn’t add any parking facilities.”
Valentine said he wants council to discuss the moratorium and refer the issue to the Development Code Steering Committee, which meets March 23.
See OUTFITTERS. Page 3A
Ken Valentine says city’s parking rules are unfair when it comes to tube rental companies
AT A GLANCE
• March 22. New Braunfels City Council will discuss placing a moratorium on tube rental expansion and referring the issue to the Development Code Steering Committee
• That committee meets March 23
Land deal preserves nature; funds preserve scholarship
By Leigh Jones
New Braunfels resident Roy Knippa started looking for a buyer for his 302-acre Bastrop property in the 1980s.
Although he had several offers from developers and even considered subdividing it himself, none of the proposals sat right with him.
“I never could get my heart into it because the land was too scenic, too beautiful," he said.
When he was approached by
lYust for Public Land, a nonprofit conservation group, about purchasing the land as a nature preserve, he knew he had the right buyer.
“That decision was very easy for me. They were a real pleasure to work with,” he said.
The tract, which is covered with post oak and pine forests, is located 18 miles northeast of Bastrop. It also contains two of the seven “Yegua Knobs,” sandstone-capped mesas 250 feet tall. The
hilltops offer views for almost 30 miles and are mentioned in the folklore writings of Texan J. Frank Dobie, according to the TPL Web site.
The $574,000 TPL paid for the property was provided by a pollution settlement with Alcoa Inc., according to wire reports. Alcoa’s aluminum smelter in Rockdale was fined for violations of the Clean Air Act.
After purchasing the land, TPL transferred it to Pines and Prairies
Land Trust. The Bastrop based organization plans on dedicating it to scientific research and low impact public recreation opportunities, according to the TPL Web site. It will also be protected habitat for the endangered I louston toad.
Knippa is happy to be leaving a physical legacy for the area, but he is almost more excited about the spiritual legacy the sale has enabled him to leave.
See LAND. Page 3A
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Primary battles are over for some, but some candidates have just one month to gear up for yet another election challenge.
City and school elections loom just around the corner, see Page 2A, today.
State-mandated classes test both physical, mental
By Ron Maloney
Friday morning was a long one for Comal County corrections officer John Bell.
He parried kicks and punches and got thrown around the West Side Community Center by Vince Fields, a former U.S. Marine Corps special operations fighter and trainer.
It wasn’t a martial arts tournament or even a class — it was on-the-job training.
“It was pretty physical,” said Bell, of Blanco, who is a jailer at the Comal County Jail.
Bell and other jailers who attended the course on “takedown techniques and control tactics” were completing part of a law enforce-inent officer’s continuing training.
Cops, deputies and jailers have to have law enforcement training and be state certified before they can seek employment.
It is less well known that their basic training is only the beginning. To stay certified, law enforcement personnel must stay in school throughout their entire career.
Bell’s boss, Sheriff’s Caph john Bell (no relation), said the sheriff’s office places a heavy emphasis on training.
“We encourage and look forward to any training we can get to improve the skills and abilities of our personnel,” Capt. Bell said. "Training is very important in the law enforcement career field in order to provide our people the tools to perform their jobs correctly in an everchanging society.”
New Braunfels Chief of Police Russell Johnson said society in today s age doesn’t just pin a badge on someone and give him a gun.
Every two years, an officer is required to complete 40 hours of continuing education in state-mandated subject areas. In New Braunfels, the police department and the sheriff’s office both have training programs, and they work together as much as possible.
See TRAINING. Page 3A
(Above) Mike Sheeny, top. pins fellow Comal County Jail Guard John Bell to the mat as they train on proper apprehension techniques Friday morning at the Westside Community Center.
(Left) Jail Guards Lee Hernandez, left, and Emma Garcia learn control tactics while participating in a training
DAVID INGRAM/Herald-Zeitung program.