New Braunfels Herald Zeitung (Newspaper) - May 19, 1999, New Braunfels, Texas
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EL RUSO, TX 79903
Vol. 148, No. 129 18 pages in 2 sections May 19, 1999
Serving Comal County since 1852
Old school EMS
New Braunfels Fire Department Ll. Stacie Zercher, who is a trained paramedic as well as a firefighter, sits at the wheel of an old fire engine at the New Braunfels Marketplace. Fire and emergency service employees are celebrating Emergency Medical Sendees Week and the many changes in their field.
ROOM CORNETT/ Herald-Zeitung
Advances in emergency medicine remembered this week
- Bv Chrm Craws Staff Writer
New Braunfels Fire and Rescue Chief Jack Collier can remember when fire departments across the country began to assume emergency medical service duties.
“When I started in Temple in 1974, they gave you a stethoscope and a pair of scissors and said 'go to it,**’ Collier said.
As national Emergency Medical Services Week is observed in New Braunfels and other cities, local officials recalled the many changes in services.
In New Braunfels, the police department took over ambulance service from area funeral homes in 1968 and the fire department began providing the service in 1970. Collier said funeral homes began to get out of the ambulance business when it became apparent that a higher level of service would be
required and costs vvpuld increase.
However, combining fire and EMS services was not immediately accepted.
’There was a lot of resistance from some of the old line fire horses, but for all practical purposes, that’s gone now,** Collier said.
The single biggest catalyst for combining fire and EMS services might have been the 1970s television show “Emergency!”
“The public saw that and said ’why don’t we have that in our city,*” Collier said. “Modem EMS was bom on a lot in Hollywood, California.” Collier said there had been a great deal of progress in EMS equipment and training in the past 30 years. A $3,500 station wagon ambulance has been replaced by $80,000 mobile intensive care units.
’The resources that have been applied to emergency services have been incredible,” he said. “We have brought the emergency room to your house.” Battalion Chief John Herber said the stethoscope and scissors were replaced by advanced equipment.
“It gives us such an advantage in the field because we can relay critical information ahead to doctors in the emergency rooms,” Herber said.
Collier said portable EKG machines cut the amount of time diagnosing a patient’s condition by more than 30 minutes.
In addition to advances in medical technology, communication systems improved dramatically since Herber began in the fire service in 1979.
“In the early days we were out on the scene alone. Now we can talk to the doctor’s over the cell phone or radios,” he said.
Collier said training and certification also advanced, as a license to drive the station wagon was all that was once required.
Herber said that AirLife helicopters had been an important part of EMS work since 1990.
Both Collier and Herber said they were very proud of the personnel and equipment available for emergency services and would compare them to any in the country.
Land values fueled by area growth
Officials say Comal’s popularity spurs rise
By Peri Stone
Most property owners already have received their notices of appraised value — some in time to attend a recent New Braunfels City Council meeting May IO and tell council their properties were valued too high.
Residents at the meeting argued that the tax rate should not be increased, because they would be paying more taxes with the current rate because property valuations increased.
llie average home increased in value about 2.59 percent, from $88,410 in 1998 to $90,760 in 1999. If tax rates were to stay the same, the average home would pay about $50 more in taxes a year.
Property owners with any qualms about their appraised value have less than 30 days to officially file their protests.
Those wanting to protest the values must schedule hearings with the appraisal district within 30 days of delivery of their notice. Notices were mailed out May 8and ll.
Last year, 280 of the 403 cases reviewed, or 69 percent, received a value change after appraisal review board hearings.
Comal Appraisal District includes 29,1% residential properties in Comal County and parts of Bexar, Guadalupe, Hays and Kendall counties.
In a random sample of 34 of those properties, the average increase of the market value from this past year to this year was 2.8 percent
But even in this small sample, the percent of change varied from less than I to 14.3 percent.
Comal County has about IO percent more taxable value this year compared to this past year, which is because of land value increases as well as new construction.
“There weren’t any hot pockets,” said Curtis Koehler, deputy chief appraiser. “Land values went up all across the district.”
And these values have been going up consistently — for the past five years, at least.
“It’s going up because people like this community,” Koehler said.
Chief Appraiser Lynn Rogers said homes were selling for more this year than this past year.
“Demand is greater than the supply,” he said.
The appraisal district values properties at market value, Koehler said.
Committee could hear SB 1772 today
Starplex Theater joins movie universe in time for “Phantom Menace” hype
Bv Pm Stone
AUSTIN — Proposed legislation that would allow New Braunfels to use a portion of its bed tax revenue for river cleanup might be heard today by a House committee.
Senate Bill 1772 has been tentatively scheduled for a hearing, according to an aide in the Ways and Means committee.
Those interested in attending should contact the committee at (512) 463-0822.
The committee's hearing will start at 4
p.m., unless the House adjourns later, in room E2014 in the annex.
Saturday is the last possible day for the committee to hear SB 1772. Without a committee hearing, a bill dies.
If it receives a hearing, the bill could pass through committee in one meeting.
Once this step is through, the calendar committee is in charge of scheduling a time for the entire House to hear the bill.
Rep. Edmund Kuempel, R-Seguin, said a cap would be introduced into the biff New Braunfels City Council approved a
resolution May IO saying it would support the bill only if it were changed to cap the amount available for river cleanup. Council voted to cap the amount at 1/2 percent of the cityfc 7 percent bed tax, or about $88,000. Previously, the bill proposed to use 2 percent of the state’s 6 percent hotel/motel tax in New Braunfels.
If the House approves the bill with council^ recommended changes, it will have to go through a conference committee made up of five representatives and five senators, Kuempel said.
By Heather Tooo Staff Writer
SAN MARCOS — Fans who didn’t get tickets to “Star Wars: Episode I — The Phantom Menace” on opening day shouldn’t throw in the towel just yet.
A new 12-screen theater opened its doors north of New Braunfels today, entering the battle to rake in moviegoers for the much-hyped “Star Wars” prequel.
The Starplex Theater, off Wonder World Drive between New Braunfels and San
Marcos, will begin showing “Phantom Menace” at 10:30 a.m. in two theaters. Tickets for the first showing were still available Tuesday night.
Moviegoers who want the highest quality movie experience for George Lucas’ latest blockbuster won’t be disappointed.
The 46,000-square foot theater boasts seating 2,100 people and is equipped with stadium seating arid digital sound in all of its theaters.See THEATER/3A
NBISD gets TAAS results, approves new boundaries
By Heather Tooo
Exit-level standardized test scores for 10th-grade students in New Braunfels Independent School District showed significant gains in math and writing but a drop in reading scores.
Results of the Texas Assessment of Academic Skills were presented to the NBISD board of trustees on Tuesday.
Rosalyn Bratcher, assistant superintendent for instructional services, said special education scores, which were extracted from reporting in previous years, were included in the 1999 scores.
Preliminary state TAAS scores, which were used for comparison with district scores, excluded special education students.
Reading scores dropped to 88 percent from 90 percent the previous year. The state average was 90 percent.
Math scores jumped from 79 percent in 1998 to 85 percent this year, which was higher than the state average of 83 percent.
Writing scores also increased from 89 percent last year to 93 percent this year. The state average was 92 percent.
Seventy-nine percent of students passed all portions of the test, which was above the state average of 78 percent. Last year, 75
percent of students passed all portions.
Exit-level scores for economically disadvantaged students dropped below the state average in math and reading.
Seventy-three percent of economically disadvantaged students passed reading this year, while the state average was 81 percent. Seventy-seven percent passed last year.
Math scores for the same student group dropped from 62 percent last year to 61 percent. The state average was 74 percent.
Writing scores increased from 75 percent to 88 percent this year, with 85 percent being the state average.
Bratcher said reading scores for Hispanic
students followed the same drop.
Reading scores dropped to 75 percent from 79 percent last year, with the state average being 82 percent Hispanic students’ scores in writing jumped to 89 percent from 77 percent in 1998 with the state average at 86 percent.
Math scores also went up to 71 percent from 61 percent in 1998. Seventy-five percent was the state average.
In other business, the board approved an attendance boundary change that will place 62 students in Cart Schurz Elementary School next year.
The change was made to alleviate crowding in the Memorial schools’ attendance zone.Inside
Key Code 76