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View Sample Pages : New Braunfels Herald Zeitung, May 04, 2001

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New Braunfels Herald Zeitung (Newspaper) - May 4, 2001, New Braunfels, Texas KST AVAILABLE COPT    FRIDAYNEW Braunfels    May    4,2001 24 pages in 2 sectionsHerald-Zeitung .......  1    1    «"    ■    1    1    ;    ,|"    y—............."    * .  - -  :• • ....... Vol. ISO, No. 149    Serving    New    Braunfels    and    Comal    County    since    1852    50    centsHelp available for displaced workers/10A County OKs tax break for facilitySchertz lands distributor By Ron Maloney Staff Writer SCHERTZ — Comal County commissioners Thursday approved an eight-year, $215,000 tax break to prepare the way for a major beverage distributor to move here. Block Distributing, a San Antonio-based wholesale spirits distributor and the largest in South Texas, now is building a $15.3 million, 370,000-square-foot warehouse/office facility in Tri-County Industrial Park off Farm-to-Market Road 3009. The move will help the 60-year-old firm vacate facilities on Coliseum Road in San Antonio. "We’re moving everything — lock, stock and barrel,” Block production manager Steve Hughes said. Hughes said he did not want to speculate on how many of Block’s current San Antonio employees would commute to Comal County. But in talks with the City of Schertz and Comal County officials, Block Distributing Co. has said it expected to expand operations at the facility and create more jobs. Schertz already had allowed the project a tax abatement worth $468,800 for IO years, which is about a 90 percent abatement. The Comal County abatement amounts to 54 percent of the county’s taxes on the assessed valuation of the capital improvements or construction on the property. After the abatement period, the county will collect its entire rate. Mark Marquez, economic development director for the City of Schertz, called the Block project a “coup” for Schertz and Comal County. "The basis of our tax abatement program is capital improvement,” Marquez said. “This project represents See COUNTY/5 A 350 losing jobs Mission Valley Fabrics restructures, focusing only on denim “It was difficult to do, but we felt it was our only option. ” — Bryan Gregory plant manager By Amy Clarkson Staff Writer More than 350 Mission Valley Fabrics employees will lose their jobs when the plant, one of New Braunfels’ largest employers, changes its operations this summer. After years of battling low-cost Asian imports, the company decided to halt manufacture of dyed-yarn fabrics. Instead, the company plans to make only denim. For the next 60 days, employees will complete work orders and the company will switch to manufacturing denim with a smaller workforce of about 200 employees. Officials say the operation consistently has lost money since Plains Cotton Cooperative Association bought the Mission Valley plant in 1998. “We’ve been struggling in this market for two and a half or three years,” said John W. Johnson, communications director PCCA. “We’ve been fighting an adverse market.” Saying the only other option was to completely shut down the New Braunfels plant, Johnson said the company instead opted to produce only denim cloth. Mission Valley shut down for a week at 7 p.m. Wednesday. The shut- See JOBS/10A K. JESSIE SLATEN/Herald-Zeitung Mission Valley employees, many with more than 30 years experience, mull over their release packets outside the Knights of Columbus Hall Thursday afternoon. Below: The machinery at Mission Valley Fabrics soon will be used to make only denim under a restructuring of operations announced Thursday. Shock, anger: Workers’ emotions run the gamut By Amy Clarkson AND RON MALONEY Staff Writers Workers at the Mission Valley textile mill in New Braunfels got a lesson in economics and international trade Thursday. And it came straight out of the college of hard knocks. They stood in small groups of four or five outside the Knights of Columbus building — disappointment and uncertainty etched on their faces. Employees found out Thursday that many of them would lose their jobs this summer. “I have no idea what I’m going to do,” Sherry Elley said. “When you’ve worked at a job for 29 years and you love it — what do you do?” Elley and her co-workers found out at a mass employee meeting that the company was going to become a denim factory. Officials gave them 60 days notice and a severance package. “It’s because of the decisions that they made in this country,” Elley said, some anger showing See EMOTIONS/1 GA Musician Meyers brings Texas flavor to art, music fest K. JESSIE SLATEN/Herald-Zeitung Augie Meyers will perform at the Texas Music and Art Festival tonight. By Amy Clarkson Staff Writer He talks of cheap motels and cars without air conditioning, of days, weeks and months on the road — in buses, vans and hitchhiking — anything to get to the next town, the next gig, the next stage. Augie Meyers’ beard is gray, but the trademark braid still snakes down his back, nearly reaching his waist. Wearing a loud blue HawaiianSchedule of events/9A print shirt Thursday at the New Braunfels Museum of Art and Music, the aging musician talked about Texas, his music and a career that spans more than four decades. He is one of the featured performers at the Texas Music and Art Festival and plays at the opening tonight. The three-day festival features a mixture of Texas art and music, as well as a Cinco De Mayo celebration Saturday. Meyers and fellow musician, drummer Rex Bud wick, swapped stories of life on the road as a musician in the 1960s, 1970s and 1980s. Ludwick now works for the museum, putting together performances and organizing events. Ludwick spent years playing drums with Willie Nelson and was also in a movie, “Honeysuckle Rose.” “Remember when we lived inInside Abby................................7A Classifieds.......................5-12B Comics..............................9A Crossword........................7    A Forum.................................6A Local/Metro........................4A Movies.................................7A Obituaries...........................3A Sports............................1-3B Today.................................2A Key Code 76 Father takes the stand in child starvation trialElection preparations By Ron Maloney Staff Writer A Williamson County father accused of nearly starving his daughter to death began testifying in his own defense Thursday against child injury charges. In subdued tones Thursday, Joseph Heiser described the conditions that led him to seek custody of his daughter from his ex-wife. Now, that daughter, age 9, is at the center of a first-degree felony child injury and neglect trial that enters its 15th day today in Judge Billy Ray Stubblefield’s 26th Judicial District courtroom. If convicted, Heiser and his See TRIAL/5A California?” Ludwick asked, chuckling. “Why did we all come back? It was the earthquake. One of those, and we said, ‘Time to go back to Texas.”” “Yeah,” Meyers said. “I went to the bathroom, and there were whitecaps in the toilet. I said to hell with this — I’m going back to Texas.” Meyers created a unique sound and a lifelong career out of play- * ing guitar, piano, organs and the accordion. He’s recorded about a See MUSIC/9A K. JESSIE SLATEN/Herald-Zeitung Elections co-ordinator Linnell Hiojosa checks the opti-scan ballot voting equipment Thursday morning. Election polls will be open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Saturday at: • New Braunfels District Two: Memorial Elementary, 1900 S. Walnut Ave. • Bulverde: City Hall, 30070 U.S. 281 North, Suite 236. • Comal ISD: Bulverde Elementary School, 1715 E. Ammann Road and Bexar-Bulverde Fire Station, 1126 E. Borgfeld Road, Bulverde. • Bulverde Library District race: Bulverde/Spring Branch Library • Canyon Lake Community Rural Library District race: Tye Preston Memorial Library. ;