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New Braunfels Herald Zeitung (Newspaper) - May 22, 2003, New Braunfels, Texas New Braunfels THURSDAY May 22, 2003 14 pages in 2 sections ■■mm*    MHH    14    pages    in    z    secHerald-Zeitung ESL...........:...............—..................................... ................................. < / '< . ’'M • -> Vol. 152, No. 162 Serving New Braunfels and Comal County since 1852 50 cents CISD to hear update on turf funding By Sean Bowlin Staff Writer The natural turf on two county football fields is gone, and tonight school district trustees will find out what progress has been made on bank loans for two athletic booster clubs. Comal Independent School District trustees are scheduled to receive updates on the artificial turf projects at Smith Inside 8 v 56825 00001 Abby ..................................5A Classifieds...........................4-6B Comics................................2B Crossword..........................2B Forum.................................6A Movies................  ...5A Sports.............................1,4    B I Today..................................2A    | TV Grid...............................3B Key Code 76 son Valley and Canyon high schools. Administrators will explain what steps they have taken to help the booster clubs secure $482,000 in loans to cover their share of the $1 million in field upgrades. The meeting begins at 6 p.m. at Smithson Valley High School. The installation of newly elected trustees Bill Swint and Rose Cervin could provide an interesting twist to the turf discussions and at least one other item on the agenda. Superin-tendent James Gru-nert is scheduled to recommend that trustees approve GRUNERT the extension of an early retirement program. Last month, the school board offered an incentives package to teachers, librarians, nurses, counselors, speech therapists and diagnosticians who wanted to take early retirement. The plan was designed to reduce or eliminate the need to cut teachers due to a projected budget shortfall of $4-6 million. CISD spokesperson Kari Hutchinson said Wednesday she did not know if the proposal would call for the plan to be extended to administrators, including possibly Grunert. Hutchison said school board members also would consider teacher staffing — where teachers will be located and allocations of teachers for the 2003-04 school year, Trustees also will be told for the first time which administrator might become the principal of the merged Mountain Valley schools. “Mountain Valley Intermediate and Mountain Valley Elementary have combined,” Hutchison said. “A committee has interviewed candidates. That recommendation is going to the school board level.” City manager gains respect of both council and staff By Dylan Jimenez Staff Writer It’s been a difficult year for City Manager Chuck Pinto. First, there were the major challenges stemming from last year’s floods. Major personnel changes in all but one city department followed. Earlier this month, Pinto initiated the unenviable task of eliminating 28 city staff positions. And now, council has proposed a possible property tax increase. Through it all, Pinto has been able to maintain the confidence of city council and staff. 'They don’t speak a word of opposition toward the man or his management techniques, though many admit the city is in the middle of great challenges and changes. How much Pinto is respected Is evident in the opinions of PINTO Police Chief Russell Johnson and Fire Chief John Herber. Both department leaders accepted staff cuts that put service decades behind appropriate levels. But after the layoffs, Johnson and Herber said they understood why the cutbacks were necessary. They even praised Pinto for getting the city on track financially. After Pinto’s performance evaluation Tuesday, Mayor Adam Cork said Pinto’s success lies in his ability to clearly define and explain his decisions.See PINTO/3A County likely to OK credit card payments By Dylan Jimenez Staff Writer Comal County Commissioners are expected to support a proposal allowing residents to use credit cards to pay county taxes and some fees. Commissioners are scheduled to take up the issue again today, the third week running they have discussed the idea. The idea has been studied since February and was presented to commissioners the first part of May. It has been considered in two meetings since then. “Here it comes on the 22nd again, with all those kinks At a glance ■ Commissioners’ Court is conducted at 8:15 a m. today in the Commissioners’ Courtroom, 199 Main Plaza. worked out and a pretty good plan,” District I Commissioner Jack Dawson said. “It looks like it will be a win-win situation for us. We will discuss it; we will make sure we’re doing the right thing, and we will move forward.” Dawson said residents have asked about the use of credit cards for a long time. Departments that wouldSee COUNTY/3A Veterans sell Buddy Poppies to help other local veterans in need By Sean Bowlin Staff Writer When you see an elderly man or woman with a be-rib-boned brown hat that says “VFW’ on it selling red-crepe paper flowers near Wal-Mart entrances this Memorial Day, remember this: They’re helping veterans. Betty Fey of the Ladies Auxiliary of the Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 7110 said 16-18 veterans or their wives will be selling “Buddy Poppies” this year. At Wal-Mart, they will work in teams to cover both exits. What Fey likes about selling the flowers is that all the money collected goes to needy vets and their families. She recounted the history of the “Buddy Poppy.” The distribution of the poppy, popularized by the poem “In Flanders Fields,” in which British and Canadian veterans killed in action lay in graves bedecked with poppies, grew popular after the United States entered World War I. The Veterans of Foreign Wars organized the first formal poppy distribution campaign in May, 1922. During the 1923 campaign the VFW evolved the idea that resulted in the “VFW Buddy Poppy" being made by disabled and needy veterans who would be paid for their work. The idea blossomed during the 1920s and 1930s. Soon, the American legion began selling flowers on Veterans Day. The VFW sells the poppies each Memorial Day. Several local VFW World War ll veterans have been participating in the program since shortly after the war. Mel Haas, post adjutant for New Braunfels’ VFW Post 7110, said “I’ve been selling Buddy Poppies since 1947. The post originated in May of 1946. It Is a donation for those who need assistance for veterans’ assistance programs. We’re required to purchase Buddy Poppies every year. That’s one of the requirements of the National VFW.” Haas said the post used to make as much as $6,000 from selling the paperSee POPPIES/3A Hugh Talbott, along with other members of VFW Post 7110, will be out in force Friday and Saturday, handing out Buddy Poppies and collecting donations benefitting needy veterans. DAVID INGRAM/Heraki-Zeitung I—rn_■■ _In Students, teachers reveal talents at annual show By Sean Bowlin Staff Writer Proud parents, teachers and students watched singers, piano players, dancers and comedians get time in the spotlight Wednesday afternoon in what’s become an annual tradition at Comal Elementary School — the sixth grade talent show. The highlight of the show came at the end. Principal Janice Tubb, dressed in a white shirt with a scarf around her neck, from which a school ring hung on a chain, joined staff secretaries, counselors and administrators in a sing-and-dance routine to the 1950’s tune “Leader of the Pack.” “Its a thing you get to do when you become a sixth-grader,” Tubb said. “Plus, the kids have worked really hard with TARS tests and benchmark tests, and they get to go out with a bang." “Its the end of their elementary school career,” sixth-grade teacher and talent show coordinator Mary Ray Covington said. “We’ve been doing it for at least 15 years that I know of.” Covington also said the show gives students an opportunity to get comfortable with performing in front of peers. Music teacher Pam Miller said the show brings out latent talents that don’t always show up academically. Many students whoSee TALENTO Athe spotlight DAVID INGRAM/Herald-ZeitungPam “Mrs. Music” Miller plays “God Bless America” on water glasses at Comal Elementary School’s talent show Wednesday afternoon. Miller will retire next week after teaching at the school for 26 years. ;