New Braunfels Herald Zeitung (Newspaper) - November 18, 1999, New Braunfels, Texas
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A Canyon Intermediate School student gets onto her designated school bus after school on Wednesday.
Vol, 148, No. 260 14 pgs, in 2 sections November 18, 1999
FM 725 closure has folks upset
By Peri Stone-Palmquist Staff Writer
MCQUEENEY — Business owners with complaints of lost revenue and school officials with concerns of safety asked Wednesday that the state let traffic pass through the now barricaded Farm-to-Market Road 725.
The road, a major thoroughfare in McQueeney, has been closed since Nov. 5 when a garbage truck hit and damaged a Union Pacific Railroad bridge.
Motorists have been directed on a IO- to 20-minute longer detour on a narrow stretch of road with little to no shoulder and a sharp curve over railroad tracks — a route Texas Department of Transportation area engineer Frank Holzmann called a “quick fix.”
After Wednesday’s town meeting at Blake’s, where more than 20 angry citizens demanded answers, Holzmann said TxDOT would look into alternatives.
Their answers won’t be too soon for many McQueeney residents.
The detour along Short Cut Road guides potential customers away from a dozen or so businesses along FM 725 in McQueeney, about IO miles southeast of New Braunfels.
“Who’s going to pay us for the loss of business?” asked Christina Beall, owner of Stars and Weezel’s Restaurant.
She said her restaurant’s business was off 20 to 30 percent.
“A lot of these businesses are just starting off,” she said. “We can’t afford this.”
Tim Blake, who opened Blake’s Cafe on FM 725 a little more than a year ago, said his business was down 35 percent compared to this past year.
“We haven’t had to cut the number of staff,” he said. “But we’ve had to cut back hours. And the waitresses live on tips. Em sure they’ve felt the 35 percent, too. And these are minimum wage people.”
TxDOT officials have said FM 725 could be closed up to six weeks, but Blake said he was not sure whether his staff could last that long.
“It’s hard to find good help,” he said. “And I like my staff.”
School officials have other concerns.
Rene Ramos, representing Seguin Independent School District, said buses had a hard time navigating the narrow detour. “And what if it rains?” he asked. “We can’t get through Short Cut then.” See FM 725/3A
Serving Comal County since 1852
CISD changing bell, bus times
By Heather Todd
Comal Independent School District is changing school start and end times and bus schedules beginning Dec. 6 to improve efficiency in its transportation system.
Effective Dec. 6, all elementary schools, except Frazier Elementary, will begin at 8 a.m. and end at 3 p.m.
Secondary schools in CISD, including middle and high schools, will start at 8:30 a.m. and end at 3:30 p.m.
Frazier Elementary will start at 7:50
Effective Dec. 6, all elementary schools, except Frazier Elementary, will begin at 8 a.m. and end at 3 p.m. Secondary schools ... will start at 8:30 a.m. and end at 3:30 p.m.
a.m. and end at 2:50 p.m. because of bus scheduling and traffic.
Most elementary schools in CISD currently start either at 7:55 a.m. or
7:45 a.m. and end about 3 p.m. or 2:45 p.m.
Secondary schools currently start at 8:25 or 8:30 a.m. and dismiss at 3:30 p.m. or 3:45 p.m.
School district officials said a new transportation plan, developed by trustee Lester W. Jonas, allowed the district to implement consistent start and end times at elementary and secondary schools.
The new transportation system, initially approved by the board July 28, also allows each geographical area tp
Making a display
NBU employees Reyes Villarreal (left) and Jack Rahe check on the downtown decorations on Wednesday before the holiday lighting kick-off on Friday night. Almost a million mini-light-bulbs were used for the holiday decorations in the downtown area, Rahe said.
Downtown prepares for holiday ceremony
By Erin Magruder
New Braunfels will be aglow with holiday cheer Friday when more than 70,000 lights will illuminate downtown.
The Greater New Braunfels Chamber of Commerce’s fifth annual Downtown Lighting ceremony will include an early visit from Santa and Mrs. Claus.
The festivities begin at 5:30 p.m. with refreshments and a performance of Christmas musical favorites by the community band.
Santa and Mrs. Claus will make their grand entrance about 6 p.m. when they circle the Main Plaza twice before stopping at the bandstand to meet Mayor Stoney Williams,
Comal County Judge Danny Scheel and J. Lynn Davis, chair of Greater New Braunfels Chamber of Commerce board.
The Hospice of New Braunfels Tree of Life, on top of the New Braunfels Utilities building, will be lit about 6 p.m. Residents can buy a Christmas light to illuminate the tree and honor a loved one throughout the holidays for $ IO or a donation to Hospice.
The switch to begin the lighting ceremony will be flipped about 6:25 p.m., at which point the Comal County Courthouse, the Main Plaza and San Antonio Street will be turned into a winter wonderland.
About 27 volunteers have spent the past six months
preparing for the downtown lighting, said Judy Young of the Greater New Braunfels Chamber of Commerce.
New Braunfels Utilities also donated its time to help put up the lights, and the the city parks department was contracted to do some of the heavy labor.
The bulk of funding for the $10,000 light display came from local businesses and private citizens who sponsored the lit trees on San Antonio Street. The Downtown Rotary and the New Braunfels Rotary also sponsor the event.
Residents who want to find a good parking space are encouraged to arrive early. More than 4,000 people are expected to attend the event, Young said.
• Downtown Christmas Lighting takes place beginning at 5:30 p.m. Friday and announces the arrival cf Santa, parade, food, entertainment and Santa pictures. Call 625-2385.
• Old Gruene Market Days features shops, restaurants, entertainment and 100-plus craft vendors Saturday and Sunday in Gruene Historic District. Call 629-5077.
opens Friday, 10 a.m. to 7 p.m.; Saturday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.; and Sunday,
11 a.m. to 5 p.m., at the New Braunfels Civic Center.
Admission is a $5 donation to the Sophienburg Museum and is good all three days of the event. Children under 10 are admitted free.
County has bond issues of its own
By Erin Magruder
Comal County Commissioners say they are concerned voters might not be willing to open their pocketbooks if the county has to call a bond election to fund flood dam construction.
If the county waits too long, commissioners fear residents will forget about the damage caused by the October 1998 flood New Braunfels City Council tentatively has approved more than $32 million in proposed bond projects, including money for drainage-related issues, streets,
recreation and police and fire pro-MILLIKIN jects.
Funding for dams was not included in the proposed bond package, and city officials have talked about putting the bond issue to vote by May 2000.
County Commissioner Jay Minikin said both potential bond issues would be separate and distinct.
“It needs to be very clear to voters that the city and the county are not trying to play one-upmanship,” he
A recent study conducted by the Natural Resources Conservation Service on the October 1998 flood showed flood dams on the Dry Comal watershed reduced the peak flow of water that washed into the terrain by 50 percent, county engineer Tom Homseth said.
The Bleiders Creek Dam also prevented extensive flooding in the Landa Estates area.
“Without the dam, the downstream area would have experienced the same type of flooding as 1972,” Hornseth said. “Flood levels would have been six to IO feet higher had that dam not been there.”
After the October flood, the county appointed members to a flood control committee to explore future flood control projects. To determine the feasibility of additional flood dams, the county hired consulting firm Freese and Nichols to determine cost benefit analysis and site selection for potential flood dams. That study should be completed in January 2000.
County officials said they would consider a bond issue to pay for all or part of the construction of additional dams if the study concludes the dams are cost effective. Commissioners also want to create an early flood warning system to alert residents and give
See COUNTY/3 AThey’re Not Blowing Smoke
• Tobacco use is responsible for nearly one in five deaths in the United States.
• About 87 percent of lung cancers result from smoking, and smoking accounts for at least 30 percent of all cancer deaths.
• Tobacco use claims the lives of an estimated 400,000 Americans each year.
• Since 1987, more women have died each year from lung cancer than breast cancer.
Source: American Cancer Society
No butts about it for Great American Smokeout
Students spread word about dangers of smoking
By Heather Todd
Local high school students will encourage their peers to kick the habit today as part of an annual campaign to prevent cancer.
During lunch periods today at Smithson Valley, Canyon, and New Braunfels high schools, student leaders will distribute brochures about the dangers of tobacco use and urge students to sign pledges to show a commitment to stop smoking or never start.
The Great American Smoke-Out is the American Cancer Society’s annual, nationally recognized day when * smokers are asked to put S down their ciga-
rn or any tobacco
The American ( .rn
cer Society sponsors the event to help millions of smokers kick the habit while also educating youth about the importance of never starting to smoke.
Statistics show cigarette smoking among adults older than 18 has declined in recent
years, but the prevalence of cigarette smoking among high school students increased 32 percent from 1991 to 1997.
Beth Matulich, a teacher at CHS and advisor for the CHS Health Occupation Students of America, said that’s why it was important to educate students now.
“Right now, we are watching a film about how addictive nicotine is, which helps kids learn that if you start now and think you can quit when you get older, it’s going to be very difficult,” she said.
Matulich said by passing out information about tobacco use to their peers, students helped each other make healthier choices.See SMOKEOUT/3A
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