New Braunfels Herald Zeitung (Newspaper) - May 22, 2007, New Braunfels, Texas
TUESDAY, MAY 22,2007
ING FOR TWO
The Spurs prepare to face Utah. Page 7
SEPARATING THE ANIMALS
A fence poses implications for border wildlife. Page 6
Serving New Braunfels and Comal County since 1852.
Vol. 154, No. 164 14 pages, 1 section
Details .... 1B
DEAR ABBY 10
CLASSIFIEDS 11 COMICS 9
CROSSWORD 9 FORUM 4
TV GRIDS 10
Journalist shield law derailed in House
By Kelley Shannon
Associated Press Writer
AUSTIN — A proposal to shield journalists from revealing their confidential sources in court was shot down in the Texas House on a technical point Monday night, dashing its prospects for passage this session.
Journalists would get limited immunity from testifying in civil or criminal court cases and disclosing the identity of confidential sources under the proposed legislation.
Rep. Debbie Riddle, a Republican from Tomball, raised her technical objection after only a few minutes of House debate on the bill. She and others noted that some district attorneys oppose the measure.
Rep. Corbin Van Arsdale, a Houston Republican and the House sponsor of the legislation, said several con
cessions have been made to district attorneys.
“Its not an absolute privilege; its a qualified privilege that can be overcome,” he said.
Under existing law, a journalist who promises confidentiality to a source — and then refuses a judicial order to identify the person — could be jailed for contempt of court.
The proposal before the Legislature would require a judge to apply specific tests to determine whether a journalist’s information is essential as evidence in a civil or criminal case. Although journalists could still be ordered to testify in some cases, the bill provided the guidelines forjudges to consider when ruling on a prosecutors’ subpoena.
The news industry calls it the “Free Flow of Information
See SHIELD, Page 6
COMALS PURSCH HIRED AS NBISD ASSISTANT SUPERINTENDENT
— Following an executive session Monday, NBISD trustees appointed Vickie Pursch as the district’s new assistant superintendent for accountability and instruction. Pursch, who has been the executive director of Curriculum and Instruction at Comal ISD for almost seven years, will assume her new position this summer.
“NBISD is a really dynamic district with a stellar reputation,” Pursch said in a press release. “I’m really excited about getting to be a part of this district."
The NBISD also adopted district goals for 2007-08:
• Improve student scores over the next three years from baseline established on 2006-07 assessments;
• Improve organizational competency by utilizing resources in a more efficient manner;
• Providing safe and secure schools that contribute to a positive learning environment which fosters student and community pride.
Senate delays action on immigration deal
By Julie Hirschfield Davis
Associated Press Writer
WASHINGTON — Senate leaders on Monday gave themselves an extension until June on what President Bush and lawmakers in both parties say is one of their most important assignments for the year: a broad immigration overhaul.
The reprieve gives the Senate more time for what promises to be a volatile debate on a bipartisan compromise that would give an estimated 12 million unlawful immigrants legal status.
“This country deserves it,” Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., said of the delay. He had previously set a Memorial Day deadline for passage.
The issue carries heavy political conse
quences for both parties. It’s a top priority for Bush, who considers it a defining element of his legacy, and for congressional Democrats who are eager to count it as one of their accomplishments at the helm of Congress.
The measure, which also tightens bor-From der security and workplace
Capitol enforcement measures, unites
Hill a group of influential Senate
liberals, centrists and conservatives, but it has drawn criticism from across the political spectrum.
“This is not going to go anywhere unless we have a filii and thorough debate of at least two weeks," said Sen. Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, the Republican leader.
The Senate will debate the deal this week and return to it after a weeklong holiday break.
The bipartisan compromise cleared its first hurdle Monday with a bipartisan Senate vote to begin debate on a separate immigration measure. Still, it faces significant obstacles as lawmakers seek dozens of modifications to its key elements.
Republicans want to make the bill tougher on the nation’s estimated 12 million illegal immigrants. Democrats want to change a new temporary worker program and reorder priorities in a merit-based system for future immigration that weights employability over family ties.
The unlikely coalition that brokered the deal, led by Sens. Edward M. Kennedy, D-Mass., and Jon Kyi, R-Ariz., is plotting to protect the agreement from “deal-break-er” changes that would sap its support.
See IMMIGRATION, Page 3
Second Republican bids to oust Craddick
AUSTIN (AP) — With talk of a I louse coup escalating, a second Republican lawmaker formally joined the race to unseat three-term I louse Speaker Tom Craddick and a former Craddick ally publicly asked the embattled leader to step down to avoid a venomous battle.
Rep. Jim Pitts, of Waxahachie, filed his candidacy Monday with the state Ethics Commission for a term to begin if Craddick is unseated, according to his declaration for speaker candidacy.
“It’s just time for a change,” Pitts, 60, said. “I frankly wish that we could do this without hurting anybody. But I don’t think we can get that done.”
Later in the day, Rep. Byron Cook, a Republican from Corsicana, railed against Craddick in a scathing speech from the front of the House as Craddick watched, quitely seated a few feet behind.
“I’m a Republican and I voted for Speaker Craddick three times, but I will not and cannot support his reelection and I beg him to step down,” Cook said.
Craddick spokeswoman Alexis DeLee said he would not abdicate the post.
Cook, one of the few members Craddick has trusted enough to make a committee chairman, said the office of speaker had become corrupted by “money, power and influence.”
House Speaker Tom Craddick faces
challenges from Jim Pitts and Byron Cook, both Republicans aiming to be next House speaker.
Top IO vehicles stolen in Texas in 2005
1. GM Pickup
2. Ford F Series
3. Dodge Ram Pickup
4. Honda Accord
5. Honda Civic
6. GM Suburban
7. Ford Taurus
8. Toyota Cairny
9. Ford Mustang
10. Dodge Intrepid
Source: Department of Public Safety
■ Expansion funds coming from bond approved in 2006
‘Chop shop’ uncovered
NBISD trustees set maximum S19.3M price for Oak Run
■ Man sought in connection with $100,000 worth of stolen machinery
By David Saleh Rauf
A two-week joint surveillance sting culminated Thursday with officials from the Comal County Sheriff’s Department and Texas Department of Public Safety exposing one of the biggest chop shop and property theft rings the county has seen in the last 15 years, authorities said Monday.
Officials from the Comal County Sheriff’s department and the DPS are looking for a 35-year-old San Antonio man — whom police would not identify — in connection with stolen property valued at $100,(XX) that was seized from a residence in northwest Comal County late Thursday afternoon. Police do not have any other suspects in the case.
“This is a big operation,” said Det. John Bailey, of the
pie and adding terrazzo flooring to the main corridor of the school. Trustees removed a line item that would have added one class-
See NBISD, Page 2
By David Saleh Rauf
School trustees on Monday set a guaranteed maximum price of $19.3 million for two of the four bond items passed by New Braunfels Independent School District voters last year intended to ease overcrowding in area schools.
In April, trustees approved a guaranteed maximum price of slightly more than $18 million for a new elementary school on Klein Road that will accommodate about 800 students in prekindergarten through 8th grade and a Transportation Satellite Facility officials say will shorten bus routes, reducing fuel costs.
On Monday, trustees voted unanimously to approve final proposals by Drymalla Construction, the company tasked with coordinating the building process, for the two remaining bond projects: Expansion of Oak Run Middle School and the renovation of the New Braunfels High School Field House.
The board approved more than $15 million, which was earmarked from a $42 million bond that was overwhelmingly approved by voters in May 2006, for additions to the Oak Run 6th Grade Center. Plans include expanding the gymnasium to hold more than 1,000 peo-
Photos by DAVID INGRAM/Herald-Zeitung
Above: Comal County Sheriff's Detective John Bailey walks past the engine and transmission of a stolen vehicle that is now stored in the impound yard behind the Sheriff's Office Monday afternoon. Below: Not much remains of a 2002 Chevy 3/4 ton extended cab pickup after it was found in a "chop shop" on Rebecca Creek Road this past Thursday.
Comal County Sheriff’s office’s auto theft division. “This is one of the top; it’s not up there in the millions of dollars hut based on what this guy is believed to be dealing in, I would say he’s done quite a volume.”
Bailey said the investigation began April 27 when DPS Trooper Dylan Dorow noticed
a trailer with what was believed to be the wrong license plate. Authorities traced the trailer to a residence off of Interstate-35 and Judson Road in northeast San Antonio and began conducting surveillance.
Although police never located
See STOLEN, Page 3
IND IT IN OUI