New Braunfels Herald Zeitung (Newspaper) - May 27, 1997, New Braunfels, Texas
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TUESDAYLoca/ runners to participate in 50-mile relay. See Page 6New Braunfels
12 pages in one section ■ Tuesday, May 27,1997
Serving Comal County and surrounding areas for more than
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Vol. 145, No. 139Inside
Dear Abby.............................,........3Birthday wishes from the Herald-Zeitung!
The New Braunfels Herald-Zeitung extends birthday wishes to: Megan Tschoepe and Julia Spence (7 years) and belated wishes to Joshua Escobdo.
To have a birthday or anniversary listed here, call 625-9144.
Student dies in Texas 46 crashTrooper says cause not clear
By SUSAN FLYNT ENGLAND and CHRIS CREWS
A Canyon Lake teen-ager died in a one-car accident on Texas 46 Monday morning.
Tavis Zink, 16, was traveling west on Texas 46 approximately two-tenths of a mile from Cranes Mill Road at 8:15 a.m. when his 1983 Nissan pick
up swerved across the center line and jerked back, Department of Public Safety Trooper Jim Shea said.
The truck went off the road to the right, struck a tree, then hit a second tree on the driver’s side, he said.
“Why he wen) across and jerked back is unknown at this time,” Shea said. “We’ll probably never know for sure.”
Zink, a sophomore at Smithson Valley High School, was pronounced dead at the scene.
Zink was a member of the junior varsity baseball team, active in the dra
ma and Spanish clubs and involved in the Fellowship of Christian Athletes and church youth groups.
Barbara Gamey, secretary in the Smithson Valley counselor’s office and family friend, said Zink had worked at Gruene Hall until 2 a.m. on Monday morning, slept at a friend’s house in New Braunfels and was going to school when the accident occurred.
Gamey said counselors from across Comal Independent School District were at the high school Monday and today to help students deal with the tragedy.
Herald-Zeitung photo by Michael Dame* Department of Public Safety officers look ovsr th* wreckage of a 1963 Nissan pick-up Monday after an accident claimed the Hie cif a Smithson Valley High School sophomore.
The New Braunfels City Council at today's regular meeting will consider entering into a contract with state transportation officials to rebuild Gruene Bridge in a move to enhance traffic and water recreational safety.
The Texas Department of Transportation is offering to pay 90 percent of the project that is estimated to cost up to $900,000 with the city picking up the rest of the tab.
For more than a year, local merchants in Gruene have been urging the city not to tear down the existing bridge because of the scenic view it provides local residents and tourists throughout the year.
They say the bridge provides a rich ambiance to the historic district that Henry Gruene built in the mid-1800s.
According to TxDOT’s design plan, the project would raise the bridge by 6 feet on the north side and 4 feet on the south side and widen the lanes by 2 feet.
The bridge, built in 1909 for $6,872 and then rebuilt in 1953, connects the Gruene district to the opening of two outfitters on Gruene Road.
The city’s interest is safety for pedestrians, traffic and water recreationalists and city leaders want to take adv antage of an offer from the state while they can, said
The New Braunfels City Council plans to meet at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday at the Municipal Building, 424 S. Casten Ave.
Mold — 2,938 Grass —68
Comal River — 282 cubic feet per second, down 4 from Monday.
Edwards Aquifer Panther Canyon Well — 625.28 feet above sea level, up. 18.
Canyon Dam discharge — 714 cfs (Rate will be increased to 2,000 cfs by 6 p.m.) Canyon Lake inflow — 566 cfs Canyon Lake level — 910.54 feet above sea level. (Above conservation pool.)
New Braunfels Utilities NSU reports pumping 5.100 minion gallons of surface water Monday, and 571,200 gallons of well water.
Umbrella weather In store for Comal
This afternoon’s forecast calls for a 30 percent chance of showers and thunderstorms - some possibly severe - with highs in the low 90s and south wind of 10 mph.
Tonight there is a 50 percent chance of rain and possible severe thunderstorms locally with lows in the upper 60s and a 5-10 mph northeast wind.
Wednesday calls for mostly cloudy skies, a 30 percent chance of rain with highs in the high 80s and a northeast wind of 5-10 mph.
School daze coming to end
Wednesday marks the last of day of classes in the New Braunfels Independent School District for 1996-97 while students in the Comal Independent School District attend classes until Friday CISD students will be released from school early Friday.
New Braunfels High Schoo commencement exercises anc Silver Unicorn Awards will be 8 p.m. Thursday at Unicorn Stadium. Smithson Valley High School graduation will be 8 p m Thursday at Ranger Stadium. Canyon High School graduation will be 8 p.m. Friday at Cougar Stadium.
Watch for work on 1-35 South
Work on Interstate 35 South will continue this week. All construction should be done behinc the barriers, and southbound lanes should be free of closures. Several exits will remain closed.
The Engel Road, Schwab Road and Farm-to-Market 1103 exits will remain closed Drivers should use the Solms Road exit to get to these roads. This means the rest area on the southbound side of I-35 also will be dosed.
Further south, the FM 3009 ramp will be closed, and drivers should use the FM 2252/FM 482 exit.
Filing for NBISD •taction opens
Elections for four seats on the New Braunfels Independent School District board will be Aug.9, and the filing period is here.
The election will be held to fi the District 1 and two at-large seats. The District 4 seat also will be up for election for the remaining year on the term.
Filing for the election began May 26 and ends 5 p.m. June 25. To file for a seat in the election, go to the NBISD Education Center, 430 W. Mill St
All quiet on holiday front
Lawmen report no serious incidents on river, Canyon Lake
By DAVID DEKUNDER
Other than a few arrests, the Memorial Day weekend was relatively calm in New Braunfels and Comal County, authorities said.
“It was relatively incident free considering the amount of people we had in town,” said Sgt. John McEachem of the New Braunfels Police Department.
Mc Lac hem said 11 arrests were made and about IOO tickets were written for various violations, such as public intoxication and possession of glass containers on the river.
McEachem said the department had five to six officers assigned on the Gruene Bridge, two in Lan-da Park and a few plain clothes policemen on the Guadalupe River.
Lt. David Ott of Comal County Sheriffs Office said one paramedic patrolling River Road and one patrolling Canyon Lake encountered no major problems
“It went really well on the river,” Ott said. “We had three arrests for possession of a controlled substance (amphetamine), possession of marijuana, criminal trespass and an assault of a police officer. It was a pretty average weekend. We were busy but nothing got out of hand. I think we handled it well.”
Ott reported 129 arrests ranging from public intoxication to indecent exposure. The paramedic on the river responded and treated IO people. The paramedic on the lake treated four people.
Statewide, Texas Department of Public Safety reported 24 deaths as of 3 p.m. Monday on Texas highways, DPS spokeswoman Shem Deatherage-Green said. Deatherage-Green said DPS had estimated that 32 people would die on highways before the Memorial Day weekend ended.
DPS tracked the deaths from 6 p.m. Friday until midnight Monday.
Triathlon organizer pitches event to county commissioners
was not held in 1995 or 1996 because of renova-
By DENISE DZIUK
The organizer of the Texas Hill Country Triathlon was in Comal County Commissioners Court Friday trying to find support for bringing the event back to Canyon Lake.
Triathlon organizer Carl Owen said the event began in 1986 at Comal Park with about 200 participants. By 1994, the contest drew nearly 2,000 people, including representatives from 40 states and more than a dozen countries. The event
tions at the park.
Owen said he is trying to bring the event back but has met some resistance.
During the triathlon, which was conducted the Saturday after Labor Day, roads were closed and traffic was backed up. Some officials have suggested the event be moved to the north side of the lake, but Owen said that is not a feasible idea because of the quality of the lake and roads for the events. He said the Comal Park location is the safest area for the participants.
“There is no two ways around it. It does impact traffic and the ability to move in and out at will,” Owen said. “Historically, we’ve had a very safe event... but, moving this event to the north side, I think, compromises the integrity and safety of the event.”
Resident Joe James, who lives in a subdivision restricted by the event, said the event greatly inconvenienced him. He said participants come to town weeks before the event to begin training, disturbing his neighborhood for more than just the day of the event. On the actual day of the event,
he said, leaving the neighborhood is almost
“They literally shut down the area for the day,” James said. “It’s not a pleasant activity.”
Frank Stanley, owner of Frank’s Supermarket, also spoke against the tnathlon. He said restricted movement to and from his store the morning of the event could cost him $30,000. He said if it were for charitable group, rather than for a private group, he probably would be one
Turn to Triathlon, Page 2
Safety vs. history
New Braunfels council considers Gruene bridge
By ABE LEVY
Car-train accident injures two
DPS, witness say warning lights not working
A New Braunfels woman and her daughter were injured in a car-train accident on Fami to Market* 482 Sunday night.
Shelly Jean VanHeel, 34, and her daughter, Crystal VanHeel were traveling south on FM 482 one mile east of Schwab Road at 11:20 p.m. Sunday when their car rounded a turn and collided headon with a Union Pacific freight
‘I haven’t seen those lights work for the past year, for sure."
— Trooper Richard Alvarez
train stopped at the crossing, according to Department of Public Safety Trooper Richard Alvarez.
‘The car wasn’t going that fast, but when steel hits steel ...,” Alvarez said.
Both mother and daughter were airlifted to University Hospital in
San Antonio, where they were treated for major injuries and released, he said.
Alvarez and a witness said warning lights at the crossing were not working Sunday night.
“I haven’t seen those lights work for the past year, for sure,” Alvarez said.
The track on which the train was stopped was a “storage track,” used only for stonng train cars when switching tracks.
“If you’re going to have a train operating, you need to have something to let people know,” Alvarez said.
Herakl-Zeitung photo by Michael D<
High river levels on the Guadalupe making tourists, residents, and river outfitters to ask the question lf the Gruene River bridge should be raised to be a sufficient height for tubers and rafters to get safely under. Here one of the tubers nearly gets caught going under the bridge
that could cause serious injuries.
City Manager Mike Shands.
“This is the first time in the history of the city that roughly $8(iu,0(M) would be available (for the bridge project) paid for by the state and federal governments,” Shands said. “It is a window of opportunity.”
He added that if the city does not agree to the deal, it would have to wait another five to IO years before TxDOT offered again.
Shands said the council had the
following options, besides the I xl JOT plan:
• Remove the project from TxDOT’s list of top priorities, thereby stopping the project until other funds become available;
• Leave the bridge as it is and only repair its structure; or
• Add a pedestrian walkway and railings that could obstruct the scenic view.
Most of the merchants are calling for the city to study other options. They include members
of the Gruene Merchants Association, a few outfitters and 350 people who signed a supporting petition.
The benefit of the bridge, they say, is that it sits in a valley and does not have railings or other obstructions, providing an attractive view for residents and tourists.
While they say they understand the city’s concerns about safety,
Turn to Bridge, Page 2
Raging river ride
Herald-Zeitung photo by Michael Darnall
Rafting and tubing enthusiasts flocked by the thousands to the Comal and Guadalupe rivers Memorial Day weekond. Here, rafters enjoy the high river levels on the Guadalupe River Sunday with the releases at Canyon Dem at more than 1,000 cfs. The rapids and high waters made for faster trips.
American Cancer Society raffling new car. See Page 5.