New Braunfels Herald Zeitung (Newspaper) - March 21, 2000, New Braunfels, Texas
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Vol. 149 No. 87 12 pages in 2 sections
March 21, 2000
Serving Comal County since 1852
50 centsCouncil discusses cutting frills, raising golf fees
By Peri Stone-Palmquist
One New Braunfels City Council member asked city staff Monday to cut out “frills” from the 2001 budget and fund more police officers.
Another member challenged staff and future councils to keep a close eye on golf course fees and consider incremental increases to keep up with inflation.
No action was taken at the meeting, but
INS agent seeks council position
By Peri Stone-Palmquist
A special agent with the Immigration and Naturalization Service filed Monday for the District 3 New Braunfels City Council seat, currently represented by Randy Vanstory.
Don Talley, 44, is running against Gale O’Hara Pospisil, 54, a residential real estate appraiser who filed for the same seat in February Vanstory said he would not seek re-election in order to devote more time to his business.
Talley said his platform included two priorities, first to insure the security and survival of the city.
“This involves adequate
drainage and flood
control measures, as well as police and EMS,” he said. Secondly, Talley
- said he wanted to
work on maintaining the integrity of the community and its quality of life.
“We desire streets and sidewalks where we can walk or run in safety, where we can stroll with family and visit neighbors,” he said. “(We want) neighborhood parks where we can play with our children and grandchildren. We want trees we can sit
it was a chance for staff to brief council on the $20 million budget in the works since January.
The first reading of the budget, which becomes effective July I, is scheduled for April IO. Some council members hoping to see some differences from the budget presented Monday.
District 2 Larry Alexander questioned spending $50,000 on media equipment and improvements for council chambers and
$50,000 on downtown improvements.
‘To me, these are frills,” he said. “If this is keeping one policeman or one fireman off the street, I don’t support it.”
Staff actually cut requests for two police officers and seven firefighters.
The Police Department requested eight officers and got six, and the Fire Department requested seven firefighters but got none. The fire department could receive additional personnel, depending on the out
come of May’s bond election.
Assistant to the city manager Don Ferguson said the city could use camera and video editing equipment to help produce programs for a full-time community access channel, which the city does not currently have.
The $50,000 for downtown could be spent on new lights, benches, trash cans and other amenities for downtown, city manager Mike Shands said.
Alexander asked the staff to study those line items and make sure they were necessities. The city needs to invest in public safety, he said.
“If we stay above the curve, the city w ill be better off,” he said.
District 6 councilwoman Juliet Watson said she would like to see some money spent on video equipment but not the full
Last day to file for May 6 elections/4A
Sea of Blue
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Canyon woman pleads guilty to intoxication manslaughter
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Spring has sprung in New Braunfels! Golfers and travelers on Elizabeth Drive have been treated to a glorious patch of bluebonnets in full bloom. Many willowers are hitting their peak right now. Call us at 625-9144 ext. 221 and let us know where to find the best “color.”
Gonzales looks for re-election to CISD board
By Heather Todd
Comal Independent School District trustee Dora Gonzales will run for another three-year term after filing for re-election Friday.
Gonzales, who represents single-member district I, said she decided to run for re-election after encouragement and support from district patrons.
“I think I needed that encouragement and decided to stay on the board another three
years,” she said.
The District I position is one of three seats up for election on the CISD board of trustees on May 6.
Applications for a place on the ballot are available at the district’s central office, 1421 N. Business 35 during regular business hours. Deadline for filing is Wednesday.
Early voting begins on April 19 and ends on
The school district is divided into seven single-member districts; each represented by a member of the board of trustees.
People interested in filing for election must be registered voters, live in the single-member districts for which they are filing and have been a residents of their districts for six months.
For 2000, only patrons in single-member districts 1,2 and 5 will vote in the CISD school
By Heather Todd Staff Writer
A 32-year old Canyon Lake woman pleaded guilty Monday to intoxication manslaughter in connection with a July 8 accident that caused the death of a 3-year old boy and critically injured four others.
Melissa Watson Choina accepted a plea agreement Monday in District Judge Gary Steel’s courtroom with a recommended sentence of 15 years in a Texas Department of Criminal Justice facility. Choina was represented by attorney Matthew Kyle.
A sentencing hearing is scheduled April 27.
Intoxication manslaughter is a second-degree felony punishable by two to 20 years in prison and a fine not to exceed $ 10,000.
Mark Mault, chief deputy district clerk, said a judge could accept the plea and sentence Choina to the recommended 15 years, or the judge could reject the plea.
If the judge rejects the plea, Choina could withdraw the plea and submit to a harsher plea, or the case could go to a court or jury trial.
Six people, including two adult passengers and four children, were riding in a Ford Thunderbird struck by Choina’s Ford Mustang after she allegedly crossed into the opposite lane of traffic on Farm-to-Market 306 just south of FM 2673 about noon on July 8.
A 3-year old boy riding in the Thunderbird died two days later at University Hospital in San Antonio.
Off icials with the Texas Department of Safety reported Choina’s blood/alcohol level at 0.26, or more
than twice the legal limit, at the time of the fatal collision. The legal blood/alcohol level in Texas at the time of the accident was 0. IO. State law reduced the legal level to 0.08 Sept. I.
Witnesses said the Thunderbird was traveling south on FM 306 and the Mustang was traveling north w hen it crossed into the southbound lane. The Thunderbird veered left and then back right again to avoid the Mustang, witnesses said.
Choina and her 13-year old passenger both were taken by Star Flight helicopter to Brackenridge Hospital in Austin. They were both released from the hospital the next day.
Three other passengers in the Thunderbird — a 12-year old boy, a 10-year old boy and a 59-year old woman — were critically injured in the accident and airlifted to University Hospital in San Antonio.
A seven-year old female passenger in the Thunderbird received minor injuries and was transported to McKenna Memorial Hospital.
A Comal County grand jury indicted Choina Oct. 13 on charges of intoxication manslaughter and four counts of intoxication assault with a motor vehicle.
Under the plea agreement, the four counts of intoxication assault will be dismissed.
Choina was arrested by Comal County Sheriff's officers Oct. 27. She was released from Comal County Jail in November 1999 on a $20,01)0 bond.
A Comal County grand jury also returned an aff irmative finding of the use of a deadly weapon — or the Ford Mustang Choina was driving at the time of the accident.
Because of the deadly weapon charge, if Choina is convicted, she will have to serve at least half of her sentence before becoming eligible for parole, Mault said.Learning foundation
Jeanette Felger, whose great grandfather Stephan Klein helped found New Braunfels, shows a German wedding certificate to fourth graders at Seele Elementary Monday afternoon. Felger spoke in honor of today’s 155th anniversary of New Braunfels’ founding.
Among the students were granddaughter Devin Felger and grandson Christopher Council (far right).
Key Code 76
Study to look at area’s higher education needs
By Peri Stone-Palmquist Staff writer
The Economic Development Corporation agreed Monday that the city should spend $30,000 on a study to assess higher education needs.
Its recommendation will be forward to New Braunfels City Council.
“I can’t think of any more quality of a project,” Greater New Braunfels Chamber of Commerce, Inc. board president Dennis
Heitkamp is not on the five-member board, which recommends how the city should spend 1/8 of the city’s 1.5-percent sales tax. But he chairs the higher education steering committee.
Rita Kaufmann, board member and chair of the higher education advisory committee, said the study would help the