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New Braunfels Herald Zeitung (Newspaper) - May 25, 2001, New Braunfels, Texas New Braunfels FRIDAY May 25, 2001 26 pages in 2 sections 26 pages in 2 seenHerald-Zeitung L  ----_................Z— Vol. 150, No. 167 _ Serving New Braunfels and Comal County since 1852 50 centsCL man first to declare as state representative candidate Womack seeks election to undefined district By Ron Maloney Staff Writer Legislative redistricting hasn’t been completed, but the first candidate for the new legislative district that will include Comal County — whatever it turns out to be — announced his intention to seek the job Thursday night. Billy Womack, 42, of Canyon Lake, who is perhaps best known recently as a voice opposing a permit amendment needed by the Guadalupe-Bianco River Authority to draw more water out of Canyon Lake, announced his candidacy for state representative. The announcement came in a press conference conducted at the Gruene Apple Bed and Breakfast. “We were hoping redistricting would be done, but Comal County is Comal Coun-See WOMACK/5A Contender faced criminal allegations CHRIS PACE/Herald-ZeitungBilly Womack declares his candidacy Thursday. By Ron Maloney Staff Writer Comal County’s first declared candidate for state representative confirmed this week that he completed deferred adjudication on a charge stemming from a 1992 incident in which he said he struck his wife. Billy Womack, 42, of Canyon Lake, declared his candidacy for a yet-undefined state representative’s district on Thursday. In an interview, he answered questions about his past. Official documents also indicate Womack was arrested in 1998 on a charge of See CONTENDER/3A CISD selects one finalist for superintendent Final vote cannot be for at least 21 days By Martin Malacara Staff Writer Trustees for the Comal Independent School District selected James Grunert as the lone finalist to lead the district. In a 5-2 vote, trustees chose Grunert from among three other candidates Thursday to be the finalist to fill the position vacated by former superintendent Jerry Major. Major left CISD for a job with the Waco Independent School District in February. Trustees John Clay, Dan Krueger, Deraid LaRue, Robert Loop and Nick Nichols voted for Grunert. Trustees John Bertelsen and Dora Gonzales voted against him. Before the vote, Clay asked if any trustees wished to make comments. Gonzales said, “I still have a lot of concerns about the process. This issue is so important I can’t fully support it at this time. In hindsight, I wish we would have done things differently.” Bertelsen agreed. He said the board was missing an opportunity to evaluate another candidate. Grunert has served as superintendent of the Cleburne School District for the past IO years. The 6,200-student district is located in Johnson County near Fort Worth. Grunert also served as superintendent of the Bonham schools for four years before taking the Cleburne post. He started his career as a teacher in the Rusk school district. County Nurse Karon Preiss hugs Firenze Goodman, mother of Lorelei Trujillo, who received an award Thursday morning in Commissioner’s Court for aiding in the recovery of a missing child. He was a coach, assistant principal, assistant superintendent and a superintendent. During the past five years Cleburne High School has been recognized as one of the most outstanding high schools in the Fort Worth area. In January 1999, U.S. News and World Report named Cleburne High School as one of the top IOO high schools in America. In accordance with state law, the school board will wait 21 days before considering a vote to hire Grunert. The earliest the board could approve his appointment is June 14. The Herald-Zeitung submitted a public information request to the school district May IO to obtain a list of the four candidates. School officials denied the request citing state law, which exempts divulging names of applicants for superintendent positions. According to the statute, the name or names of finalists being considered for the position must be presented to the public at least 21 days before the date of the meeting at which a final action or vote is to be taken on the employment of the person. School officials said the candidates were not finalists at the time. Dr. Anthony Constan-zo is the district’s interim superintendent. He will remain with the district until August. Board members still were meeting about other issues late Thursday and were not available for additional comment. CHRIS PACE/ Herald-Zeitung By Amy Clarkson Staff Writer Stream flows and the weather promise to be perfect, and outfitters, Comal County and the city of New Braunfels are preparing for the kick-off weekend to the summer tourist season. Memorial Day weekend is always the first big weekend on the Comal and Guadalupe rivers. Thousands of tubers are expected to come from across the state to relax on the rivers that flow through the county. The Comal County Sheriff’s Office is planning on having 50,000 to 100,000 visitors on the river this weekend. “I have no idea what to expect,” said Janey Lackey, owner of Riverbank Outfitters. “We’re nearly ready for it. I just hope we rent everything out.” Usually she rents all her equipment to customers during Memorial Day, which is one of the busiest weekends of the entire season. Tubes, kayaks, canoes and rafts will dot the river during the three-day weekend. And Lackey said she hopes to be ready. Her employees are painting the Riverbank logo on all their tubes in preparation. “This is our big weekend,” Lackey said. “We hope that it starts a good summer. Its been slow, so far. The weekend weather has been too cold or too rainy or the flows have been too high. But this weekend — it looks like its going to be perfect.” And the tourists are coming, said Judy Young, director of the Convention and Visitor’s Bureau at the New Braunfels Chamber of Commerce. The hotels and other accommodations are 96 percent full. “The campgrounds are full too,” Young said. “We’re all ready and expecting a great weekend.” Young was busy too — delivering “River Rules 2001” posters to every outfitter in the area. She said the great weather and great flows would translate into good behavior on the river. “The flows are exactly right,” she said. “Fast enough to keep people from misbehaving. It’s a good situation all around. We’ve gotten good reception for the rules from the outfitters. We’re all on the same team here, and we’re all looking forward to a great season.” Flows from the Guadalupe River — the longer river of the two in the county and the one that is used most often by tourists — are set to be 400 cubic-feet-per-second. On the Comal River, flows are at 373 cfs. George Cushanik, manager of the Water Oriented Recreation District for Comal County, said that’s perfect for the tourism season. “It doesn’t get better than 400 cfs,” he said. “That’s pretty much optimum. And we’re River Rules- • Obey the laws. • No plastic foam products are allowed on the rivers • No glass is allowed on the rivers. • Use the designated public exits — don’t exit the river on private property. • Littering is illegal and will be enforced. Fines go as high as $2,000. • Jumping off bridges is illegal and dangerous. • Public nuisance laws will be strictly enforced. • Pets must be on leashes at all times. • Obey all traffic signs and follows signs for shuttles. • Play nice, don’t make waves. • Be cautious at pedestrian crossings. getting ready for the tourists.” The recreation district was created to provide tax dollars for river management inside See RIVER/8A River ready CHRIS PACE/Herald-Zeitung Homer Buckley removes bus seats Thursday at River Bank 2 Outfitters off Loop 337. River Bank Oufitters and other local businesses have spent days preparing for Memorial Day weekend, which kicks off the summer tourism season. Law enforcement, businesses gear up for start of summer tourism Commissioners honor child who found missing girl By Ron Maloney Staff Writer On Thursday, the Comal County Commissioners’ Court honored a heroine, and one of the things about heroines and heroic deeds is they come in all shapes and sizes. And Lorelei Trujillo is an 8-year-old girl who accomplished something huge in January when she was in the Comal County Health Department for a few shots. Trujillo and her mother, Firenze Goodman, moved here from Oaxaca, Mexico. The girl didn’t have all the immunizations she needed, so they went to the health department. While at the office, Lorelei saw a photo on the wall of a child she’d gone to school with in Mexico. She asked her mother why the girls picture was on the wall, and County Nurse Karon Preiss told them the children in those photos were missing. So started an international investigation that resulted in Lorelei’s friend, Gabrielle Shulman, being brought back to her father in Los Angeles, three years after her mother, who did not have legal custody of the girl, allegedly took the girl to Mexico. Thursday morning was Lorelei Trujillo Day in com-See CHILD/5A Inside Abby................................7A Classifieds.......................6-12B Comics..............................11A Crossword........................7A Forum.................................6A Local/Metro........................4A Movies.................................7A Obituaries...........................3A Sports............................1-3B Today.................................2A Key Code 76 ;