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New Braunfels Herald Zeitung (Newspaper) - March 24, 2000, New Braunfels, Texas Bi Herald-Zei •O'Uf ”009 lo, ' i lNDfj I -riV T/'"'I f j ' I -J TK- Vol. 149 No. 85 ZZ pages in Z sections March 24, 2000 F RI DAY Serving Comal County since 1852 50 centsConvention center cohabitation?Residents argue whether two similar facilities can survive in San Marcos, New Braunfels By Peri Stone-Palmquist Staff Writer Some officials agree that similar convention centers could coexist in New Braunfels and San Marcos, but some local residents say competition would be too stiff. If a convention center in New Braunfels doesn’t do well, local taxpayers would feel the heat, said New Braunfels resident Bob Watson, father to District 6 New' Braunfels City Council member Juliet Watson. “Either one is going to struggle,” he said. “Two cannot live as cheaply as one.” Others argue the small meetings market can support convention centers — and if both were built. New Braunfels would fare better. “New Braunfels already has established itself as a tourist destination,” Decision 2000 Referendum I: Bed Tax Debate said PKF consultant David Parker, whose firm studied the feasibility of a convention center in New Braunfels. “In the minds of the meeting planner. San Marcos is a college town.” Local residents will have to decide for themselves just what kind of an impact a San Marcos convention center would have on New Braunfels, especially as the May 6 election approaches, At that election, local residents w ill vote on a referendum prohibiting the city from using its portion of bed tax revenue for a convention ISER (vote center — until the public agrees to it in another vote. While New Braunfels makes decisions about bed tax, San Marcos City Council will ponder tax abatements for Texas Country Clubs Inc.’s proposed development, including a convention center, golf course and hotel, valued at more than $ 13 million. San Marcos City Council already has approved the first of three read- Commission gives nod to outdoor mural By Heather Todd Staff Writer The New Braunfels Art Commission agreed Thursday that a percentage of bed tax money should fund the creation of a second downtown outdoor mural chronicling the life of Ferdinand Lindheimer. Six members of die commission voted Thursday night to provide the Historic Outdoor Art Gallery with about S3,OOO or 3.27 percent of the expected $103,920 the arts commission w-ill receive rn hotel/motel tax money for 2000. The commission also voted unanimously to recommend giving nine organizations the same percentage of funding as last year and allocate funding previously set aside for the New Braunfels German Folk-dancers to the Historic Outdoor Art Gallery. Arts and heritage organizations receive 14.286 percent of the city’s 7 percent bed tax revenue. Out of the 14.286 percent of hotel/motel occupancy tax funds, 53 percent goes to arts organizations and 47 percent is allocated to heritage organizations. The seven-member commission typically meets once a year to discuss how hotel/motel tax revenue, a dedicated tax with restricted uses, should be spent on arts organizations. Their recommendation will be brought before New Braunfels City Council for final approval. This was the first year the Historic Outdoor Art Gallery requested funding from the arts commission. The organization has been working four years on outdoor mural projects as way to revitalize downtown and educate the community about the city’s history and heritage. The organization unveiled its first mural, titled “City of a Prince,” on March 21, 1999. The 38-foot by 150-foot mural, created by artist Clinton Baermann, can be seen along the wall of the New Braunfels Emporium building on Casten Ave. Wayne Rahe, president of the Historic Outdoor Art Gallery board, said the bed tax money would be used to fund part of anSee MURAL/12A Break DOWN The New Braunfels Art Commission recommended allocating the projected $103,920 in bed tax to the following groups: • 10.89 percent to The Children’s Museum in New Braunfels • 27.23 percent to the Circle Arts Theatre, Inc. • 3.27 percent to the Compania de Danza Folklorica • 5.45 percent to The Hummel Museum, Inc. • 27.45 percent to the Mid-Texas Symphony, Inc. • 9.80 percent to the New Braunfels Art League • 3.27 percent to the New Braunfels Community Chorale • 1.74 percent to the S.P.E.B.Q.S.A. (Barbershop Singers) • 3.27 percent to the Historic Outdoor Art Gallery Legislative committee gives U.S. congressman Texas-sized toast U.S. Congressman Bill Archer accepts the Texan of the Year award Thursday at the 34th Annual Legislative Conference, at the Civic Center. The conference continues today with several panel discussions. AMANDA BECK/Herald- Zeitung By Peri Stone-Palmquist Staff Writer In the middle of budget talks, US. Congressman and Texan of the Year Bill Archer left Washington D.C. Thursday night and sw ept into New Braunfels on his private jet just to attend the 34th Annual Texas Legislative Conference and a reception in his honor. “It was a bad day to leave Washington,” he said, mingling with a crowd of more than 350 in the Civic Center. “But I wouldn’t have missed this.” Texan Legislature conference Advisory Committee C hair Ray Perryman announced in November that Archer got the award this year. Archer said he’s been looking forward to the conference since then. “This is an outstanding award,” he said. “I was really touched by it. ... I’m very much a Texan. When you’re awarded Texan of the Year, it really does something for you.” Archer’s wife, two sons and several family members joined the other esteemed guests Thursday to honor the congressman. Archer has served in Congress since 1971. In January of 1995, he became chairman of the I louse Ways and Means C om-mittee. He continues to serve in that capacity and is chairman of the Joint Committee on Taxation. Senator Jeff Wentworth, R-San Antonio, said the recognition was long overdue and commended Archer on his “sound approach to financial matters on the congressional level.” “He’s trying to simplify the federal tax system,” he said, "which is in great need of being simplified.” In Congress, Archer is respected for his firm, even-handed leadership of the House Ways and Means Committee; his broad know ledge of the complexities of tax law, Social Security, welfare and trade policy; and his free-market reform agenda. He was a key player in getting the 1997 balanced budget with tax relief signed into law and has led Republican efforts to reform Social Security by creating individual investment accounts. For years, he advocated reforming the welfare system, and he authored the welfare reform bill that became law in 1996. Colleagues aren’t just impressed with Archer’s accomplishments. State Rep. Edmund Kuempel, R-Seguin, and former New Braunfels Mayor Jan Kennady both described Archer asSee TOAST/12A Environmental issues on tap at water fair By Heather Todd Staff Writer BRACKEN Those interested in the latest technology in water conservation or who just want to save water at home might want to tap into the Garden Ridge Water Fair in Bracken Saturday. The Comal County Agricultural Extension Service is sponsoring the third annual water fair, “Harvesting Water for the Future” at Bracken Community Flail, 18490 Goll St., in Bracken. The event, which will run IO a.m. to 4 p.m., will feature demonstrations of the latest products in water conservation, speakers addressing environmental issues and educational booths packed with brochures offering water conservation tips. To get to Bracken Community Hall from New Braunfels, take Interstate 35 South to the Farm-to-Market 3009 exit. Travel north on FM 3009 1.8 miles to a four-way stop. Turn left on FM 2252 and travel about two miles, then turn left on Goll St. The community hall is located about one block down Coll St. on the left side of the road. Marty Gibbs, Comal County Extension agent, said State Rep. Edmund Kuempel would address environmental legislation affecting water and air quality in central Texas from 11:30 a.m. to noon. Gibbs said, "The purpose (of the fair) is to educate and inform the general public about the need for water conservation and reuse in our area.” Other speakers include Tim Lawyer, biologist with the Department of Texas Parks and Wildlife, and Mark Peterson, an urban forester w ith the Texas Forest Service. ings of an ordinance establishing a reinvestment zone for more than 1.000 acres near Posey Road and Old Bastrop Highway, down the street from the outlet malls. Tile reinvestment zone is the first step in granting a tax abatement. San Marcos Mayor Billy Moore said. Council likely will discuss the See COHABITATION/12A Arrest made in building fire case By Heather Todd Staff Writer SPRING BRANCH — A 46-year old Spring Branch man is in custody at Comal County Jail in connection with a recent fire here that destroyed a portable storage building and documents related to a civil lawsuit. Comal County sheriff deputies arrested the man on an arson charge Thursday at his residence in the Spring Branch area after he allegedly set fire to a building owned by his employer. Cypress Lake Gardens Property Owners Association, Inc. Justice of the Peace Pct. 3 Fred Stewart issued a warrant for the mans arrest on the arson charge Wednesday. Bond was set at $25,000. On Feb. 22, Comal County deputy sheriff Gary Haecker was on routine patrol around 11:30 p.m. and found a portable storage building, 576 Cypress Cove Road in Spring Branch, engulfed in flames. Spring Branch Volunteer Fire Department officials were called to the scene to extinguish the fire, which caused about $6,000 in damages. Comal County Fire Marshal Fin Manford investigated the fire and determined it had been intentionally set. Manford was assisted by the sheriffs office criminal investigation division and the State Fire Marshal’s Office. MIUi ford said Thursday that samples taken from the scene of the fire contained fuel and oil residue. Manford would not comment on any evidence that connected the suspect to the fire. Manford also said the target of See FIRE/12AInside Abby................................5A Classifieds  ...............5-1    OB Comics...............................7A Crossword..........................5A Forum.................................6A Local/Metro........................4    A Movies..................................5A Obituaries...........................3A Sports............................1-4B Today.................................2A Television............................7A Key Code 76 J ;