New Braunfels Herald Zeitung (Newspaper) - May 14, 2005, New Braunfels, Texas
Page 2A — Herald-Zeitung — Saturday, May 14, 2005
County moves forward with courthouse restoration
By Bon Maloney
Comal County commissioners voted Thursday to approve a contract with an architect for a $7 million project to restore the Comal County Courthouse.
The contract, with Volz and Associates of Austin, clears the way for work to begin on an application for a state historic preservation grant.
A schematic design required for that application is expected to come in June.
Volz is also working on four other, smaller contracts connected to the courthouse and the county’s space needs, including CAD drawings of the courthouse as it now exists, a master plan for the restoration, the grant application and a study of the county’s current and anticipated needs for office space and parking.
If the restoration grant is approved later this year, construction could begin in 2006 and be completed in 2008 at a projected cost to the county of about $3 million.
The project, which would require that employees be moved from the courthouse into other space, would restore the exterior of the building to its 1930s appearance. The public areas of the interior would be restored to their original 1898 construction with a second floor district courtroom and commissioners’ courtroom on the first floor.
The project would be overseen on the architectural side byTere O’Connell.
A restoration, O’Connell has said, would involve removing third floor offices and restoring the former district court -
room to a two-story space with a spectator balcony.
The restoration would include a soaring center atrium, she said, as the structure was originally designed by renowned courthouse architect J.
Riely Gordon. In 1898, the courthouse cost about $36,000.
Volz would be paid 15 percent of the contract — standard for architects on such jobs, county officials say—or about $900,000.
Scheel, who has expressed concerns that the project would turn the courthouse into a tourist attraction that would be difficult if not impossible to work in agreed to work with the project after commissioners voted unanimously for it — save for his dissenting vote.
Legislative leaders bickering over school finance
AUSTIN (AP) — With just two weeks left for legislators to reach a school finance agreement, new battles broke out Friday between House and Senate leaders.
Negotiations between the two chambers had not yet begun Friday when leaders began to cherrybomb each other with criticisms — both veiled and otherwise.
Republican House Speaker Tom Craddick chided his Senate counterparts for taking two months to finish the two school Finance reform bills. The House, he pointed out, Finished their part by early March.
In a written statement, Craddick said it would be a challenge to reach a compromise with such a short time left in the session, which ends May 30.
“You have to raise an eyebrow when you read the press release,” said Republican Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst, who presides over the Senate. “If school reform and school finance reform don’t happen, it’s not going to be the Senate’s fault.”
Later, Craddick said the Senate tax plan could be found to be out of order because it does not Fit with the intent of the legislation drafted by the House.
“It doesn’t work,” said Craddick, also a Republican.
Dewhurst responded by pointing out House expenditures that didn’t necessarily fit with the stated purpose.
“You’ve got to ask yourself, ‘I wonder why they’re trying to distract things at the last minute?”’ Dewhurst said. “Let’s focus on getting togeth
er and solving those issues.”
The two sides appeared to have major hurdles to overcome if education funding — the biggest issue of the legislative session — is to be resolved.
Both plans would boost public education funding by about $3 billion over the next two years and would reduce property taxes by varying amounts. The chambers differ on how they’ll raise new money, but have proposed an array of new and increased taxes on businesses, snacks, alcohol, sales and cigarettes.
On Friday, House members voted to reject the Senate version of the tax-generating legislation after spending almost an hour debating what they’ll allow their negotiators — known as conferees — to consider.
Matters of Public Record
Law enforcement officers in New Braunfels and Comal County arrested the following May 12-13, 2005:
John Walter Callahan, 19, Canyon Lake, harassment. David Joseph Cole, 40, New Braunfels, driving while intoxicated, third or more offense. Jesse William Crapse III, 46, San Antonio, theft between $50 and $500; criminal trespass.
Anthony Darnell Criner, 28, Converse, disobeying a police officer; speeding — 77 mph in a 65 mph zone; terroristic
Patrice D. Duncan, 42, New Braunfels, motion to adjudicate/driving while intoxicated with a child passenger.
Harold Wayne Hayes Jr., 35, New Braunfels, failure to identify as a fugitive from justice; assault causing bodily injury/family violence.
Benito Hernandez, 50, San Antonio, motion to revoke probation/driving while intoxicated.
Juan Antonio Jasso, 47, El Paso, theft between $50 and $500.
Heather Leigh Martin, 33, Canyon Lake, theft by check between $20 and $500.
Aleta Maria Mata, 26, Geronimo, speeding — 62 mph in a 40 mph zone; driving while license suspended; failure to maintain financial responsibility; unrestrained child under four.
Shawn Keith Miller, 41, Holland, public intoxication. Lucie G. Morales, 53, San
Antonio, theft between $1,500 and $20,000.
John Michael Pinson, 17,
New Braunfels, possession of less than 28 grams of a controlled substance, penalty group 4.
Katherine Annette Rivera, 41, Seguin, driving while license invalid.
Johnny Salazar, 29, New BaBraunfels, theft between $50 and $500.
Jose Alonso Sanchez-Tovar,
19, New Braunfels, no driver's license; no liability insurance.
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The court Thursday gave the judge authority to appoint a project manager to represent the county’s interests.
Officials could hire a building trade professional or could seek outside help.
That issue was discussed for awhile. County Engineer ibm Hornseth acted as project manager on the county jail expansion several years ago — a job that was fraught with problems.
He told the court that whoever had the job had to be available to be on-site very often — if not all the time — and that bringing in someone from outside to work the job full time would be optimal.
Scheel suggested he preferred to appoint a county employee.
“Sorry Tom, either you or someone in your department,” Scheel said. "We’ll appoint at a later date.”I MUSEUM
CONTINUED FROM Page 1AExhibit highlights history of music
the two American music fans were shocked to discover no exhibit covering the Texas staple had ever been produced.
With the blessing of the ACL producers and after a lot of hard work, including time spent in the famous studio Filming a documentary on the taping of Lovett’s most recent performance, the museum was transformed into a replica of the ACL stage.
“It’s amazing. It looks just like the real thing,” said museum Public Relations Director Codey Allen. “We even have the original bleachers and the Austin skyline backdrop.” Before taking their seats in front of the microphone, visitors are guided past pictures of performers taken during the last five
House, Senate prepare to work out workers’ comp differences
AUSTIN (AP) —The House and Senate made last-minute maneuvers Friday on workers’ compensation legislation as they prepared to send their bills to a panel of lawmakers to work out a compromise.
The Legislature is trying to update a system that businesses, unions and doctors have long complained provides poor treatment for injured workers and costs too much.
Texas has the third-highest workers’ comp costs in the nation and the highest rate of injured employees not returning to work, said Sen. Todd Staples, R-Palestine.
“It’s a complex system. There are many moving parts, and we have to stay with our number one goal of ensuring that workers receive the type of care to which they
AT A GLANCE
■ What: Austin City Limits: Making Music — Making History
■ When: Saturday through Aug. 7
■ Where: New Braunfels Museum of Art and Music
■ How much?: $5 for nonmembers; free for members
■ Information: Visit the museum's Web site at www.nbmu-seum.org.
years and multimedia kiosks presenting a timeline with film footage of the show’s highlights and two documentary movies.
Visitors can even have their picture taken in the spotlight and sit behind the knobs and switches in the replica control booth.
The exhibit runs through Aug. 7, and will include special performers, programs and events on weekends.
The display also will fea-ture ACL screenings, a series of the show’s most popular archived performances.
are entitled and that our businesses can be competitive nationwide,” Staples said.
The House leader of the legislation offered a similar view as the House tentatively approved the Senate’s workers’ comp bill Friday. Meanwhile, the Senate approved the House’s bill. But each chamber placed its own plan into the other’s bill.
The bottom line: Two bills will be up for discussion when a select group of lawmakers from each chamber sits down to try to reach a final agreement.
“It’s about the people, not the process,” said Rep. Burt Solomons, R-Carrollton.
In some ways, the House and Senate versions are alike. They would create managed-care style networks of doctors like those in commercial health plans.
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