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New Braunfels Herald Zeitung (Newspaper) - May 8, 2003, New Braunfels, Texas New Braunfels THURSDAY May 8, 2003 14 pages in 2 sections "mmmm ___    14    pages    in    Z    SCH    ticHerald-Zeitung .................................... vv.; ::.zr:: Vol. 152, No. 150 Serving New Braunfels and Comal County since 1852 50 cents Trustees angry they weren’t consulted >l\ CISD superintendent says ‘appropriate people’ knew about turf loan ■ INSIDE: Bungled stadium plan gives CISD officials colossal case of turf toe/ Editorial, Page 6A Teacher: District should halt turf work; return fields to natural grass state/Guest column, Page 6A. ■ FRIDAY: What are the schools getting for their half-a-million dollars worth of field improvements? By Sear Bowlin Staff Writer 'Hie seven members of the Comal Independent School District first heard about a plan to loan athletic booster clubs money for artificial turf projects last week. Superintendent Jim Clrunert and Business Manager Abel Campos insist that the “appropriate people” knew about the plan to loan the Smithson Valley and Canyon booster clubs $241 .CKX) each. Neither would say who those “appropriate people” were. But they apparently weren’t any of the school board trustees. “We don’t do anything without the appropriate people being aware of what we’re considering,” Grunert said Thursday. ‘The administration made sure before a decision, or even a conversation was made with the boosters, that the appropriate people knew that this was a decision we were discussing. “Abel came up with idea. I approved it. And it was precented to the appropriate individuals,” he said when asked a second and third time who those individuals were. Trustees appeared to be stunned when Campos unveiled the plan at the April 29 hoard meet ing. Irater in the week, hoard mem bers expressed anger and resentment that, they were bypassed in the decision-making process. Trustee Dora Gonzales said a citizen told her about t he project on Sunday night or Monday. “Anytime you spend funds, especially of that magnitude, it should be voted on by the board,” Gonzales said. “I don’t think that (CISD See TRUSTEES/8A KRUEGER ‘The board is entitled to all the facts... of any decision.” Deal lets residents charge court fines By Ron Maloney Staff Writer Residents who have to pay court fines could soon be able to do so with a charge card. Representatives of Global Payments Direct Inc. out of College Station will explain the process to county com- At a glance ■ WHAT: Comal County Commissioners' Court ■ WHEN: 8:15 a.m. today ■ WHERE: Commissioners' Court Building, 199 Main Plaza missjoners during today’s workshop session. It’s the second time in a month that Comal County Treasurer Susan Patterson has asked that commissioners allow the public to use credit cards to pay f«*<*H, fines and services. Shortly after she took office in January, Patterson l>egan talks with Wells Fargo Bank officials alxiut est ablishing a credit card payment system for the county. She develop*! a preliminary proposal in late February, hut was unable to work out all the details, ‘This is tho one we were hoping to work with Wells Fargo Bank. Its the same thing, hut with a different provider,” Patterson Maid. , “We’re really excited about this,” she said. Should the county adopt the proposal, Patterson said justice of the peace courts, county court-at-law, the district courts and the county clerks office would ail accept See CHARGE/8A Inside Abby 5A Ciastjfieds................. 4-6R Comics.......................... PH Crossword.................... PR Forum........ BA Movies 5A Obituaries ................. Sports........................... 1 4B Today PA TV Grid........ 3R Key Code 76 6L8/5 0000 f stage Friday Photo* by K. JESSIE SLATEN/HorakJ /outing (Top) Vanessa Jordon Harwood shows off some of her classical piano skills during a break at rehearsals for the upcoming production of “Hansel and Gretel." (Above) Trenton Douglas and Bianca Billiot (seated, center) practice their roles of Hansel and Gretel with “old campers," Seth Troudt, Julian Vemer, Kelsey Hitzfelder, Kristen Martin and Amanda Menser. Performances of the annual Communities In Schools Missoula Children’s Theatre project will be at 9:15 a.m., 10:45 a.m. and 7:30 p m. Friday at the Brauntex Theatre. (Left) “New campers” watch other cast members rehearse a scene. About 50 local children will be in the play. Auditions were conducted Monday with rehearsals throughout the week. New event kicks off river tourism I with a splash By Dylan Jimenez Staff Writer Tubing Hest Hon ojx*ns wit ii a hpIhhIi Friday the spray from Mayor Adam Cork's plunge into the Comal River. I bibbed The Running of I he 'I\Jh*h,” I he fOHtivit ICH start at 4:45 p.m. with short remarks by Cork and County Commissioner Jack Dawson. Then Cork anil anyone else who wants to join in will jump into the river. Officials hois* ihe merriment on flu* river helps erase the memories of a half season of tourism lost to the flood of 2002. Michael M»*ek, president of the Greater New Braunfels Chamber of (bummeree I is:., said images of the Fourth of July flood of last summer were seen across the world. “That image of the house floating down the river was carried not just statewide and nationwide* hut worldwide,” M<*ek said. “Thats not tin* kind of advertising you want.. Friday’s media event is d< signed to maid out a positive message "Everything's fine, come on down,” Meek said. A new public awareness campaign will Is* unveiled as well. The image and information campaign uses colorful, unified signage to explain regain! ions and provide visitors with helpful information, such as the locations of parking lots, trash receptacles and rest rooms. “It s kind of tough to pay attention to all tin* signs that are on white metal with black letters,” Judy Young, dir«*< tor of the New Braunfels Convention and Visitors Bureau, said. At a glance ■ WHAT: The Running of fhn Ti itiRC m WHEN: 4:45 p.m. Friday ■ WHERE: Footbridge between Prince Sotms Park and Hinman Island Park See SPLASH/8A Johnson sworn in as police chief By Ron Maloney Staff Writer The first morning of Russell Johnson’s first day on the job as interim chief of the New Braunfels Police Department, he showed his officers that things had changed. A call went out over the police radio net regarding a felony aggravated robbery. Johnson, brand new to New Braunfels, didn’t exactly know his way around. He picked up his radio. “I don’t know where I am, but I can see Kmart,” Johnson said. ‘Tell me where I need to go to help!” He immediately earned my reaped,” a young officer said. Within a few days, officers began noticing they saw their chief on the streets a lot. Any weather, any hour, any place and at every major crime scone. They noticed, too, la* was kicking tails around the office dealing with issues some men felt had burn suppressed or ignored for years. One morning, an officer who had decided he could trust Johnson saw him on a hack street at 4 a.m. and stopped to whisper some con cents he had, That conversation, and what followed from it, led to three firings, a demotion and months of not-so-favorahie headlines as other officers including some senior staff quit, were fired or retired. Wednesday, Mayor Adam (kirk swore Johnson in as a certified Texas peace officer and this city’s chief of police. Officers who have stuck with Johnson through a tumultuous year explained at a reception afterward why it’s Is en worth it    and what it’s In-en like. Sgt, Bean Gabbard was looking for a job just before Johnson came on hoard. He decided to stay, and he’s b«*en promoted. “I I c’s handled himself well. On a personal basis, he’s a very nice guy to work for. He’s very personable. He’ll remember the names of your family, even though he’s only See JOHNSON/8A K JESSIE SLATEN/HMfakJ /winey Sheriff Bob Holder (center) Introduces City Manager Chuck Pinto (left) to ttie family and friends of New Braunfels’ newly appointed Chief of Police, Russell Johnson, after Johnson s swearing in ceremony Wednesday ;