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New Braunfels Herald Zeitung (Newspaper) - May 10, 2001, New Braunfels, Texas __    THURSDAYNew Braunfels    May 10,2001 14 pages in 2 sectionsHerald-Zeitung 1 -   ——mm—   — —  . mmy  my; wnamb IB BH \ \ ■ V ''' 1 ' J I 3 I . I     —  ■■ ■■..■.n .i.,.,.....   hwbbbsS 1    ■ 11 1 ■ BWEHB—£9 I — -—-—-—---I-—------■----— ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------- ---—.—---—------- Vol. 150, No. 154 Serving New Braunfels and Comal County since 1852 50 cents Starved girl’s parents get two years in prison Inside Abby...............................5    A Classifieds......................4-6B Comics..............................3B Crossword........................5A Forum.................................6A Local/Metro........................4A Movies.................................SA Obituaries...........................3A Sports............................1-2B Today.................................2A Key Code 76Preliminary parks plan suggests $33 million of improvements By Amy Clarkson Staff Writer Hiking trails, a recreation center, neighborhood playgrounds and an indoor pool — all are included in a preliminary master plan given to the Parks and Recreation Board for approval Monday. The board plans to consider approval of a final version as soon as it is available from Carter and Burgess, said Iris Neffendorf, director of the parks and recreation department. The company was hired in May 2000 to study the recreation needs for the city. In total, the plan recommends new facilities and improvements to existing facilities worth more than $33 minion during the next seven years. “We are very close to presenting it to city council,” Neffendorf said. “They gave us the preliminary report and the board had a few changes. So, if they get the changes made quickly, we’ll have a special meeting to approve it. If not, (the parks board will) approve it in June.” The master plan lists the current and future needs of the parks department. Information gathered from public hearings and a telephone survey of New Braunfels residents is included in the report. The Parks and Recreation office in Landa Park has a copy of the preliminary plan, Neffendorf said. She hopes to present it to the New Braunfels City Council at one of its June meetings. “We’ve worked on this for quite some time,” Neffendorf said. “Basically it projects the growth that we need for the next seven years.” Once the plan is completed, copies will be available to the public, Neffendorf said. The goals of the master plan include upgrading existing parks and facilities; providing a geographic distribution of parks throughout the city; providing park facilities using alternative source of funding; and developing new parks while protecting green spaces. The plan also lists the top IO suggested needs, rated according to how often people said they were needed. Those needs include:See PLAN/5A By Ron Maloney Staff Writer Joseph and Yevette Heiser will spend two years in jail for failing to care for their daughter who nearly starved to death, Comal County jurors decided Wednesday. The jury — which took nine hours to convict the Williamson County couple of the minimum charge possible — took half an hour to give them the stiffest penalty possible. The Heisers will serve two years in a state jail and each pay a $10,000 fine for criminal negligence resulting in serious bodily injury or bodily injury to their oldest daughter. District 26 Judge Billy Ray Stubblefield said he would sentence the Heisers formally on Monday in Williamson County. They then can be remanded to the Texas Department of Corrections to begin serving 24-month terms in a state jail. Under Texas law, no commutation or “good conduct time” is authorized for defendants sentenced to a state jail. The Heisers will serve their entire sentences without parole. The sentence clouds the possible outcome of a hearing to come in Williamson County, now set for June 18, to determine whether to terminate the Heisers’ parental rights over their two children, now in foster care. In the civil proceeding, the Heisers were looking to regain supervised custody of their daughters, now ages 9 and 2-1/2. The children were taken from the Heisers on Jan. 5, 2000, after then-oldest daughter, then age 7, was hospitalized for treatment of malnourishment and dehydration. On March IO, 2000, the Heisers were indicted on charges of injuring their oldest daughter by failing to properly feed her or find her medical care and of endangering her through the same acts. Had the jury convicted them of injury to a child, they could have been sentenced to as many as 99 years in state prison. Defense attorneys Roy Minton, Randy Leavitt and Ed Walsh argued See PRISON/5ATrout hook permit process By Martin Malacara and Amy Clarkson Staff Writers The one party that got the attention of the Texas Natural Resource Conservation Commission Wednesday did not have to say a word. Hundreds of Comal County residents went to Austin Wednesday to oppose a request by the Guadalupe-Blanco River Authority to take more water out of Canyon Lake. Many hoped to plead with the state agency to save the lake. However, the Texas Natural Resource Conservation Commission did not appear interested in what they had to say. Commissioners instead turned their attention to the brown and rainbow trout in the Guadalupe River. The commission delayed approval of the permit amendment to encourage a compromise between GERA and the Guadalupe River Trout Unlimited Association. Tile conservation group is seeking assurances that plenty of water will be flowing from Canyon Dam to preserve the trout, which are stocked into the lower Guadalupe River. Crowds packed the TNRCC meeting room and two overflow rooms to listen to requests for a contested case hearing in the GBRA permit process. If granted, the case hearing could push back permit approval by as much as two years. The commission dismissed hearing requests from a number of Guadalupe River property owners, the owner of Small Hydroelectric and northern Bexar County residents — saying the other groups were not affected by the permit amendment. The commissioners gave GBRA and the GRTU until June 20 to reach a settlement, according to commissioners’ vote. “We are not going to negotiate with the GBRA,” said Stuart Henry, attorney for the trout fishermen. “We’ve tried for a year and a half. The GBRA will not negotiate in good faith; they never have.” The GBRA permit amendment would allow the river authority to draw an additional 40,000 acre-feet from Canyon Lake, increasing its contracted amount See TNRCC/3A What’s next: No chance for negotiation Conservation group only one to get TNRCC’s ear From Staff Reports Guadalupe River Trout Unlimited and the Guadalupe-Bianco River Authority have about six weeks to reach a compromise over a permit amendment to take more water from Canyon Lake. By June 20, the two groups must reach a settlement, or the Texas Natural Resources Conservation Commission will again consider granting GRTU’s request for a contested case hearing. The commissioners also can decide to grant the permit amendment. GBRA wants to take 90,000 acre-feet from Canyon Lake. Currently, regulations allow GBRA to take 50,000 acre-feet. Of that, the GBRA wants to sell 11,000 acre-feet out of district, including 4,000 acre-feet to Bexar County. An acre-foot equals roughly 326,000 gallons. On Tuesday, the TNRCC asked both groups to use the state agency’s Administrative Dispute Resolution office to help negotiate a settlement. However, the trout association’s attorney, Stuart Henry, said the group was unwilling to negotiate with the GBRA. “They don’t negotiate in good faith,” Henry said. “And we have no leverage — we weren’t granted party standing.” Henry said the TNRCC should have given the conservation organization “party standing” — just as it would if a contested case hearing had been granted. That way, the group would be on equal footing with the GBRA. He said the trout group had tried repeatedly during the past 18 months to reach an agreement with the GBRA. See NEGOTIATION/3A CHRIS PACE/Herald-Zeitung Above, Sue Workman, center, and Jean! Richie hold up signs Wednesday protesting the idea of taking more water from Canyon Lake during a TNRCC meeting in Austin. Below, a Canyon Lake resident checks in at the last minute to ride a charter bus that took a full load of people to Austin to attend the TNRCC meeting. Shunned homeowners angry at process By Amy Clarkson and Martin Malacara Staff Writers Conservative optimism to anger prevailed Wednesday at the Texas Natural Resource Conservation Commission. Hundreds gathered at the TNRCC meeting, but only a few were allowed to speak. The rest left disappointed in their quest to express their opinion about an amendment to increase the amount of water taken from Canyon Lake to 90,000 acre-feet. The Guadalupe-Bianco River Authority’s permit currently allows GBRA to take 50,000 acre-feet annually for residential, commercial, recreation and agricultural customers. A single acre-foot roughly equals 326,000 gallons. Guadalupe River Trout Unlimited, a conservation organization fighting to protect brown and rainbow trout on the Guadalupe River, appeared to get the attention of the TNRCC. The trout group was the only one of 17 requests for contested case hearings considered by the TNRCC commissioners. “They’re trying to avoid the bullet,” said Stuart Henry, GRTU’s attorney. “We won’t negotiate with the GBRA. We plan to fight for a contested case hearing. Ask the GBRA if they ever agreed to sign an agreement with the GRTU.” GBRA General Manager Bill West was guardedly optimistic after commissioners asked the river authority to negotiate with the trout conservation group. “We’re not disappointed,” West said. “We have every confidence we’ll be able to work something out. Their unwillingness to negotiate right now is just another challenge in front of us. A Canyon Lake group was completely shut out of the meeting. Commissioners refused to allow homeowners and residents to speak, and any petition for the contested case hearing was denied. Despite the rules, one Canyon Lake resident was determined to have his say. He asked the commissioners to deny the permit, before the TNRCC board chairman asked him to sit down. See HOMEOWNERS/3 A ;