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New Braunfels Herald Zeitung (Newspaper) - May 2, 2001, New Braunfels, Texas BEST AVAILABLE COPYNew Braunfels WEDNESDAY May 2, 2001 16 pages in 2 sections 16 pages in 2 seed*Herald-Zeitung '    ii    i    i''-;:    '.....-"W    '■    -    "    ■    ■.    .    ,j£ ——_.      _ Vol. 150, No. 147 Serving New Braunfels and Comal County since 1852 50 cents House district plan under fire From Staff and Wire Reports The first House redistricting skirmish is over. The big battle is about to begin. Rep. Delwin Jones, chairman of the House Redistricting Committee, said he hoped to have the redistricting plan his committee approved Monday before the frill House for debate later this week. Rep. Edmund Kuempel, who repre-s e n t s Comal and Guadalupe counties, said he expected that debate to take place next week. And once debate starts, Kuempel plans to talk about some concerns he has with the plan. “I don’t think this particular plan is going to pass without some amendments,” Kuempel said Tuesday. The Central Texas representative said he had not had a chance to study the plan closely. However, he did note that his district would lose Comal County and pick up Wilson and Gonzales counties. Comal County is lumped into a district with Kendall and Kerr counties to the west in a new representative district. “To me, it looked a little strange, but once you put all the pieces together, that’s where the chips fell,” Kuempel said. Kuempel’s concerns about Jones’ redistricting plan echoed similar comments from Republicans, some of whom called it a”politician protection plan” aimed at pro-tecting the job of House Speaker Pete Laney, a Democrat, and other incumbents.See HOUSE/5A KUEMPELTexas iconWillie Nelson returns to Gruene Hall June 5 :?V*'K* ti-lf : m 4 aH| ' |P • I;?* > ‘Jim TNRCC: City missed hearing request deadline AP Photo Willie Nelson plays for a rain-dampened crowd of more than 4,000 at Meadowbrook Farm on Aug. 6, 2000, in Gilford, N.H. By Dale Martin Herald-Zeitung Correspondent He came to town once before to play at Gruene Hall, and on June 5, Willie Nelson returns to the legendary venue. Tickets go on sale today, and they are expected to go quickly. Tickets are $79.50 and can be bought: • Online at starting at 8 a.m. (credit cards only); • By calhng 629-5077 starting at 8:15 a.m. (credit cards or money orders only); • At Gruene Hall starting at ll a.m. (cash only); and • At Josephine St. Cafe in San Antonio, 400 E. Josephine St., starting at ll a.m. (cash or credit cards). The mere mention of his name causes people to use terms such as legendary, classic, outlaw, kindhearted and honest. To say that Nelson has done and seen it all would be a major understatement. In his long and exciting career, Willie Nelson has recorded country music, standards, gospel and much more. His latest release is “Milk Cow Blues,” his third album for Island Records and his first blues issue. Commission can, not required to, consider letters By Amy Clarkson Staff Writer Legal wrangling by members of the New Braunfels City Council over a proposed amendment to take more water from Canyon Lake might be causing an unnecessary rift in the council. “It may make no difference one way or another,” said Todd Chenoweth, section manager of water rights permitting and availability for the Texas Natural Resource Conservation Commission. “The deadline to submit requests for case hearings was set a long, long time ago — in 1999. It’s too late now.” The commissioners plan to decide May 9 whether to adopt the permit amendment that would allow the Guadalupe-Bianco River Authority to take 40,0000 additional acre-feet of water from Canyon Lake Reservoir. They also could decide to send the permit amendment for a contested case hearing. “The commissioners don’t have to consider any information received after the deadline,” he said. “And that deadline was a long time ago. They could still choose to look at it, but the rules don’t require it.” The stream of correspondence from New Braunfels serves only to highlight division on the council, he said. Political fighting aside, Chenoweth said the TNRCC was accustomed to dealing with controversial subjects. “While this exact same thing has not happened before, we are used to getting letters from people,” he said. “And occasionally we get letters retracting older statements. But it doesn’t usually happen with a city.” The commissioners will see several letters from New Braunfels. The first, sent in March 2000, asks for a contested case hearing. The second, dated April 26, notifies the commissioners that the council voted to rescind the request. And the third — written by Councilwoman Juliet Watson on official city stationery — asks that the commissioners ignore the second letter based on her opinion that the council’s action was “illegal and improper.” As of Monday, Chenoweth had not seen copies of the letters, but he said all correspondence would be included in the commissioners’ packets. Canyon Lake request While the city’s request might have come too late, one Comal County’s group request for the contested case hearing did not. A group of Canyon Lake businessmen organized and filed a request for a contested case hearing within the deadline provided. Bill Womack, spokesman for the group, said theirs is just one of many requests the TNRCC will review May 9. “We’ve hired attorneys and filed the request early,” he said. “This is not some scare tactic. We’ve been working on this for years. And there are about IO or ll requests out there that will also be heard.” While Womack and his group claim they do not want to block water from parts of western Comal County, they say questions concerning the economic and environmental effects of the permit amendment have not been adequately answered by GBRA. “We just want answers,” Womack said. “And we aren’t getting them. This is a very political situation, and there is a lot of power involved. But the/re messing with people’s lives here — people’s livelihoods.” See TNRCC/3AFestival preparations K. JESSIE SLATEN/Herald-Zeitung Artist and show curator Ron Boling looks over two James Tisdale pieces he is setting up for Friday’s opening of the Texas Music and Art Festival at the New Braunfels Museum of Art and Music. See 4B for more. Mom refutes reports about girl’s treatment By Ron Maloney Staff Writer Yevette Heiser told the jury Tuesday that there were some things she’d do differently if she could relive the weeks and the days leading up to when her 7-year-old daughter was hospitalized for malnutrition. Heiser and her husband, Joseph Heiser, are on trial for charges of allegedly injuring and endangering their oldest daughter by nearly starving her to death and fading .to provide her with proper medical care. They could spend up to the rest of their fives in prison if convicted in the trial before District 26 Judge Bdly Ray Stubblefield. Yevette Heiser completed about IO hours of direct examination by defense attorney Roy Minton late Tuesday afternoon. She described the months that led up to Child Protective Services seizing her children early this past year, and refuted, point by point, the allegations raised against her during a two-week presentation by prosecutor Jane Starnes. The sores that so alarmed school officials and doctors were caused by recurrent bouts with poison oak or ivy, Yevette Heiser said. The much-publicized discipline method of making the child hold up dumbbells was only applied four or five times, for five minutes each time, Heiser said. Food never was used as a disciplinary tool, the mother said, and the only time her daughter ever ate anything different from the rest of the family was when she asked for it. Heiser’s testimony flies in the face of allegations by numerous prosecution witnesses, including investigators and therapists who said the child told them otherwise. “This is your little girl,” Minton told his witness and defendant. “Do you have any explanation for why in the world she would say these things?” Heiser answered, “I wish I knew. I haven’t talked to her in a very long time. She’d like to talk to me, and I’d like to talk to her.”See MOM/3A Planning commission wants annexation to move forward By Amy Clarkson Staff Writer The Planning and Zoning Commission sent a message to the New Braunfels City Council at its meeting Tuesday night — it’s time to begin annexing property into the city limits. As the end of the one-year moratorium on annexation nears, the commission set an annexation workshop for 5:30 p.m. May 16. The commission also plans to discuss handling growth and development on parts of Walnut Avenue at the meeting. “Our backs are against the wall on this one,” James Dunks, member of the planning commission, said. “And our backs are to the wall because the city council put their heads in the sand and voted to postpone annexation for a year.” The New Braunfels Planning Department presented a calendar of proposed annexation dates to once again begin the process to annex developments into the city. This past year, the city council agreed to allow a delay so areas could negotiate terms of voluntary annexation. The workshop only begins the process. On June ll, the council will discuss passing a resolution to schedule public hearings and authorize the master services plan. Under current law. the city has four and a half years to provide services to newly annexed areas. Beginning next year, any property annexed must be provided city fire, water, police and utility services within two and a half years. “Our time frame for getting those services to them decreases,” said Harry Bennett, planning director. “So we need to have a workshop, get together and discuss possibly including some other areas into the annexation for this year. We need to discuss issues in terms of where we are going to annex, policy changes and providing services for (New Braunfels Utilities).” The tentative schedule for the annexation process is: • June ll — City council considers adopting a resolution directing the planning department to schedule public hearings and authorize the See ANNEXATION/5A Inside Abby  ...................5A Classifieds.......................5-8B Comics..............................2B Crossword........................5A Forum.................................6A Local/Metro........................4A Movies.................................5A Obituaries...........................3A Sports............................7-8    A Today.................................2A Key Code 76 ;