New Braunfels Herald Zeitung (Newspaper) - May 20, 2011, New Braunfels, Texas
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FRIDAY, MAY 20, 2011Serving New Braunfels and Comal County since 1852.Zeitung
Panel: Courtroom facilities inadequate
By Greg Bowen
The volunteer Justice Center Steering Committee was disbanded ^Thursday after concluding facilities for courts and related activities in Comal County are inadequate.
Committee chairman Ray Jeffrey of Bulverde told county commissioners that the committee— which he described as a group with a wide range of points of view and no rubber stamp — agreed courtroom problems include inadequate security and
Jeffrey also said the current process of using space in Comal County Courthouse Annex and in the Commissioners’ Courtroom building for choosing juries, conducting trials, housing prosecutors and holding prisoners waiting
to see a judge is “incredibly inefficient and inconvenient.”
It’s made even more difficult by the fact other county business is being conducted in those facilities as well, he said.
“I believe that everyone on the committee is satisfied that there is
a real need to do something to alleviate the problem," Jeffrey said.
County Judge Sherman Krause said a discussion as to whether there was an ongoing need for the committee’s services came up
See JUSTICE, Page 9
► DROUGHT EFFECT
Vendors ask county not to ban fireworks
Commissioners hear pleas regarding possible
By Greg Bowen
Fireworks vendors asked Comal County commissioners Thursday evening not to ban fireworks during their upcoming big July 4 sales season.
“Don’t put us out of business,” said a local woman with Mr. W Fireworks.
“If you prohibit me from selling fireworks, you’ll be violating my
American Fireworks’ Chester Davis of Hays County asked commissioners not to deny citizens the right to use fireworks to celebrate an American tradition. DOUGLAS Because of
KlM,fireworh the ongoing vendor drought and
the threat of wildfires, County Judge Sherman Krause is considering a disaster declaration under which the sale and use of fireworks — as well as other activities that might result in grass-fires — could be prohibited.
Krause said fireworks vendors would be among those most affected by a disaster declaration and that the special evening workshop session was called, in part, to get input from them on what effect a declaration might have on their business.
The woman with Mr. W said she’s already purchased her merchandise and rented a place to sell her fireworks.
“We're asking you to work with us by giving us guidelines rather than prohibiting fireworks sales,” she said. “We’re not allowed to open again until Christmas.”
Another local vendor, Douglas Kirk, said a ban could impact tourism in the New Braunfels area. “Lots of tourists come here to shoot fireworks down by the river, and they're a source of revenue for restaurants and hotels and others,” he said. “Ninety percent of my customers aren't local.”
See DROUGHT, Page 11
DOING UNTO THE LEAST OF THEIR BRETHREN
A mission team from Oakwood Baptist recently worked in the village of Jacquesyl Haiti
Oakwood Baptist mission team works on church, well on island
By Marilyn Kuehler
Oakwood Baptist Church in New Braunfels is breathing life into the Christian charity of the Gospels by lending a hand to impoverished villagers in a place that once made headlines — Haiti.
“They are the downcast and forgotten,” said the Rev. Rusty Rice, executive pastor at Oakwood. “They are the working-class poor. We have a responsibility to them.”
Rice led a missionary team of seven church members to Jacquesyl, a coastal fishing village in the Cap-Haitien area near Haiti’s border with the Dominican Republic. The village is home to about 2,500 men, women and children who live without running water, electricity, bathrooms and refrigeration.
To view a photo gallery of Oakwood's work in Haiti, visit herald-zeitung.com.
You'll also find a video from the journey on the website.
Oakwood partnered with the nonprofit Living Hope Mission, based in Florida, which has assisted poor people in Haiti since 1993. Members making the trip with Rice April 29 to May 6 were: Mark Cook, John Dettmer, John Fuquay, Steve Heflin, Lenny Iierena, Kevin O’Toole and Hal Wahlers.
The first impression of the area, Rice said, was of “hopelessness and sadness.”
Villagers live in dirt-floor shanties made of cinder blocks or bamboo or sugar-cane stalks. Without a sanitation system, an
“overwhelming amount of trash” is strewn about. Hogs, horses, cows, goats and chickens freely roam the streets. Mosquitoes pose a constant threat of malaria in the tropical climate.
“It’s the bottom of the bottom,” Rice said. “I asked myself: What does America’s abundance and their (Haitians’) lack of basic essentials say about us?”
Getting to work
While in Jacquesly, the Oakwood men helped villagers with two major construction projects — preparing the foundation for a new church and drilling a new well.
These were not a standard building projects carried out by massive machines and heavy-duty
See HAITI, Page 11
NBHS principal has record of success
By Will Wright
Newly named New Braunfels High School principal John Burks is soft-spoken and mild-mannered, but he has a burning desire to open up the lines of communication between teachers, parents, students and staff at his new school.
“I’m honored to be die new principal at New Braunfels High School,”
he said following his introduction at the New Braunfels Independent School District board meeting Thesday night.
“In 38 years, I've dealt with similar challenges before and been successful. I’m looking forward to working with the faculty and staff and the students and the parents, many of whom I
worked with before at the middle school.”
Burks, 66, has spent the past four years as New Braunfels Middle School principal. Before coming to NBISD, he served as principal at La Vemia High School, and before that, he was an assistant superintendent with Harlandale ISD.
NBISD superintendent Randy
See BURKS, Page 9
► COMAL COUNTY
Officials extend burn ban
By Greg Bowen
Comal County commissioners extended the burn ban for another 90 days on Thursday as drought conditions continue to pose a threat for wildfires.
County Fire Marshal Wayne Ellington recommended the extension of the ban.
He said Comal County has experienced 59 small grass fires since April 1, caused by everything from tossed-out cigarettes to embers blowing away from burning trash.
The ban was enacted in February when the drought index, a measure of dryness and fire danger in fields and pastures, neared the 500 burn-ban trigger level.
Ellington said the index stood at 644 on Wednesday.
He said 195 of Texas’ 254 counties have burn bans.
Should conditions change, the ban can be rescinded prior to the end of its 90-day term on the order of Comal County Judge Sherman Krause.
The ban, which applies to the unincorporated areas of the county, prohibits most open flames outdoors under the threat of a fine up to $500.
Exceptions are cooking fires, which are allowed in outdoor barbecue pits with hinged tops that can be closed to keep sparks from flying out. Also, welders are asked to call the Fire Marshal’s Office to report their plans and receive safety rules before welding on an exterior project.
OPRAH'S LAST HURRAH
Are you planning a watch party for Oprah's last show? Have you been on her show or in the audience? If so, we want to tell your story. Drop us a line at newsOherakJ-zeitung.com or call Autumn Phillips at (830) 625-9144. ,
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