New Braunfels Herald Zeitung (Newspaper) - May 16, 2007, New Braunfels, Texas
Page 8A — Herald-Zeitung — Wednesday, May 16, 2007
South Texas leaders say they’ve lost fence battle
MCALLEN (AP) — Following a meeting with border officials Tuesday, Rio Grande Valley leaders said they learned that about 70 miles of fencing was coming to their region by 2008 against their objection.
“We do not need to wait for the future to tell us we have lost,” McAllen mayor Richard Cortez said. “I can tell you, we’ve already lost."
Cortez and other local mayors have been dismayed since learning last month of a map showing 153 miles of fencing in Texas, part of a plan to erect 370 miles by the end of 2008.
They worry the fence will cut off landowners and endangered wildlife from the river, min flood-control systems, and send the wrong message to Texas’ biggest
Cortez, Hidalgo County judge J.D. Salinas and Starr County Judge Eloy Vera made the announcement after their first official briefing with border patrol officials since the map of the barrier between U.S. and Mexico surfaced.
Border Patrol spokesman Oscar Saldana said the meeting between Reynaldo Garza, acting chief of the Border Patrol’s Rio Grande Valley sector, and local officials was extremely productive.
“ This is just part of the outreach program, and just one part of our overall security plan,” Saldana said in Wednesday’s edition of the McAllen Monitor. “We’re talking about what we’re going to do. The when and how is undecided.”
The exact location and building materials for the fence have not been finalized.
Rio Grande Valley leaders said they now plan to work with federal officials in hopes of mitigating the problems they see with the fence.
“We want to make sure that instead of confrontation, we have communication to better our area,” Salinas said.
Documents outlining the fence project show plans to build 370 miles of fence and 200 miles of vehicle barriers, such as concrete barriers, by the end of 2008. Of the 370 miles of fence, Texas is to have 153, Arizona 129, California 76, and New Mexico 12. The vehicle barriers would be mostly in Arizona and New Mexico.
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Firefighter returns to work May 20
“Bullrun” began airing on SpikeTV in March with 12 teams competing for the grand prize of $200,000. Each team raced its own vehicles along public roadways.
Contestants had to obey all traffic laws to stay in the game, and at the end of each episode, the team with the lowest time was disqualified.
Known as “Team F-150,” Wallace, who lives in Universal City and Keeton of San Antonio, drove Wallace’s 2004 Ford Texas Ranch F-150 Lariat.
Tuesday's final episode showed Team F-150 facing off against a 2002 Pontiac Trans Am WS6 and a 1975 Hurst Oldsmobile W-30. After two time trials, die overall winner
of the $200,000 cash prize was Team Trans-Am, driven by Mike and Morgan Alsop, a father and daughter team from Indiana.
“We didn’t win, but we had a good ride,” Wallace said Tuesday night from northern Florida, where he currently is competing in the original Bullrun. “This has been an incredible adventure and I've met some amazing people.”
By Tuesday afternoon, after four time trials in his current race, Wallace and co-driver, Morgan Alsop — now racing as a team in herTrans-Am — were in seventh place out of 73 teams.
“This one’s different," Wallace said. “It s made up of Fer-
raris, Lamborghinis, Porches and BMWs, which can all do at least 150 mph. We’re happy to be in seventh, and I think we could win if we pushed it, but we don’t want to end up (getting arrested and) wearing silver bracelets.”
While the road race is scheduled to finish Saturday, Wallace, who is due to report back to work at New Braunfels’ Station 2 on May 20, said his professional contacts will come in handy during the next couple of days, as major wildfires continue to affect much of South Florida.
"I’m a member of a national firefighters motorcycle club and contacted some of the local members here in Florida,” he said.
“Even though many of the major roads are closed, they're going to see if they can take us straight through, which will save us a lot of time. But even though there
are some awesome prizes, this Bullrun and this race is for bragging rights.”
Now that the television show is over, Wallace said his adventures might only be starting.
“It’s all fun and games until someone gets hurt, but lots of good has come from this whole experience,” he said. “I’ve met lots of good people with serious connections, so with all the networking going on, we’ll have to see what happens in the future.”
And, just before the credits began to roll on the reality show’s final episode Tuesday night, Wallace’s co-driver put it all in perspective for the local fans.
“We made the top three and you can’t feel any better than that," Keeton said. “We gave it our all. Texas pride, baby.”
Mark Koopmans can be reached at [email protected]
Randy Gribbin walks down his Eden Ranch driveway.
Not only did an out-of-town contractor not apply the asphalt deep enough, he also only made the driveway 8-feet wide instead of the original 10 feet, Gribbin said.
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Candidates have range of experience
I know about the city.”
Everett has served as the assistant police chief in Haltom City since 2004, when he left the Dallas Police Depart
According to Everett’s resume, he began his career with the Dallas Police Department as a patrol officer in 1979. I Ie served as communications division dispatcher in 1981, patrol officer from 1981 to ’82, detective from 1982 to ’84, internal affairs detective from 1984 to '86, sergeant in identification division — physical evidence squad during 1986. lite sergeant was a member of the crime
scene response section from 1993 to 2004.
Morrison said he will conduct the final interviews for Mock and Everett today. I Ie should be able to make a decision by Friday, he said.
Interim Police Chief John Villarreal, who has been leading the department since Russell Johnson retired in January, will continue to run the department until a new chief is hired.
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Authorities continue to investigate
division continue to look into the matter, Sgt. Tommy Ward of the Comal County sheriff’s office said Tuesday.
"We’ve had complaints and a couple of offense reports have been filed,” Ward said. “It’s an open case, but it isn’t an active investigation at this time.”
As the out-of-town contractor has not yet been charged with a criminal offense, the Herald-Zeitung is not identifying him or his company.
Several weeks ago when complaints first surfaced, the Herald-Zeitung spoke with other residents of the River Oaks subdivision in New Braunfels. Asking not to be identified, one widow said the contractor drove up in a black Escalade and said he had done work for her deceased husband.
“So I trusted him," said the widow whose driveway even-tually was completed for $ 11,000 — more than $2,000 above the original quote.
After also Filing an offense report recently, she said the contractor called her back asking “that she not report
him to the Better Business Bureau."
“I hadn’t called the Better Business Bureau, but he said he would try to do about $2,000 worth of work around the neighborhood so he could pay me back,” the widow said.
“I remember thinking that I’d believe that when I see it, and I was right.”
The out-of-town contractor has not called since the end of April, she said.
“It appears the individual or individuals (in this case) have vacated the area,” sheriff’s Cpl. Tim Kolbe said. “We haven’t seen them and could not locate the vehicle in question."
Gribbin, who hopes to have his driveway completed by next month, said in the future, he will not be as impulsive when it comes to making major purchases and decisions.
“Oh yes, 1 11 do my own homework and research before I go out to find the professionals I need,” he said.
“Although it is unfortunate to have to do it this way, I’m not going to simply accept what others say or quote me in the future.”
Mark Koopmans can be reached at mkoopmans @ herald-zeitung.com.
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