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New Braunfels Herald Zeitung (Newspaper) - November 19, 1999, New Braunfels, Texas New FELSHerald-Zeitung w MMMM| Vol. 149, No. I 24 pages in 2 sections November 19, 1999 Serving Comal County since 1852 50 cents Canyon Cougarettes power The Canyon Cougarettes travel to Austin today for a 5:45 p.m. match with Conroe Oakridge in the Burger Center in the Class 4A state semifinals. (See Page 1B) WAI Ll/Herald-Zeitung I r& I TA.V *«l AM Friday Archer tapped for Texan of Year Special to the Herald-Zeitung US. Congressman Bill Archer of Houston has been chosen as the Texan of the Year, Texas Legislature Conference Advisory Committee Chair Ray Perryman announced Thursday. The 34th Annual Texas Legislative Conference is scheduled for March 23-24 in the New Braunfels Civic Center, according to Ted Cook, chair of the Arrangements Committee for the Conference. Archer will be present to receive the award at the Texan of the Year reception on Thursday evening, March 23 and will par-ticipate in the 34th Annual Conference on March 24. The 34th Annual Conference boasts six major co-sponsors this year, Cook said. The cosponsors include Enron, Guadalupe Valley ARCHER Telephone Co-Op, Lower Colorado River Authority, PacifiCare of Texas, Reliant Energy Entex and Southwestern Bell. Archer has served in Congress since 1971. In January 1995, he became the chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee. He serves in that capacity today and is also chairman of the Joint Committee on Taxation. Archer was a key player in getting the See ARCHER/5A “The importance of a football game pales in comparison to this tragedy. Our only concern right now is for those students, their families and friends. All in our Aggie family are in a state of shock.” — Texas A&M football coach R.C. Slocum Students die in bonfire fall WAI Ll/Herald-Zeitung Comal County A&M Club members get together on Thursday night at the John Newcombe Tennis Ranch to support each other, pray for all of the students, families, administration and emergency personnel at Texas A&M University and discuss how the club can help the students and families affected by the tragedy. Local residents honor lives lost By Christina Minor Staff writer As thousands of Texas A&M University students mourned the deaths of those involved in Thursday’s bonfire accident, a group of New Braunfels residents gathered to remember the students who died and honor the families and rescue personnel affected by the accident. The Comal County Aggie Club had originally planned a small bonfire and yell practice in honor of the A&M/University of Texas game next week. Due to Thursday’s accident, the ceremony was cancelled. The bond that brought the alumni to the meeting pulled them closer together in the wake of this tragic accident. Updated information was given to those in attendance, and a prayer was dedicated to the students. “The bonfire is magical,” Katie Sibbemsen, a 1996 graduate, said. “You don’t really understand it until you see it. It’s a 90-year tradition. Those students were out there doing what they needed to. It’s a time for students to bond, no matter what class you’re from.” Sibbemsen was a friend to an Austin student who died in the accident. City councilwoman Jan Koty- lo agreed that the bonfire unites students as well as alumni. “It’s hard to explain,” she said. “The bond is something that continues even after you leave. When you see that A&M ring on someone’s finger, it’s an instant bond.” Jon Tillman, president of the Comal County Aggie Club, said all proceeds from Thursday’s event would go towards the accident. “That's why we’re meeting — to help support the families and students,” Tillman, a 1990 graduate, said. “Everything this club does is to benefit the studentsSee LOCALS/5A11 students dead, 28 injured when stack of logs falls COLLEGE STATION, Texas (AP) - A towering, 40-foot pyramid of logs erected for Texas A&M’s traditional football bonfire trembled and then came roaring down early Thursday, crushing 11 students to death and injuring 28 others. Two people had been seen trapped in the rubble Thursday afternoon, but officials said late Thursday that both had been confirmed dead. Workers Ap hoped to get to the bodies of those two students, one male and one female, by dawn, said Kern Bennett, an engineer with Texas Task Force One. At least four of the injured were in critical condition. Rescuers earlier in the day used sensitive sound-detection equipment to listen for moaning or tapping from the enormous pile of collapsed logs, and heard scratching noises. But several hours later, officials said the noises were no longer being heard. A wave of grief settled over the campus of43,000, some 90 miles northwest of Houston. Thousands turned out for a memorial service Thursday night, including former President George Bush, whose presidential library is at Texas A&M. “For the Texas Aggie family and the world, this has been a day of unspeakable grief and sorrow,” A&M president Ray Bowen said. “We’re all trying to cope with this tremendous loss of life and the pain and suffering.” Top levels of the structure, which is tiered like a wedding cake, fell off'to one side. The painstaking work was expected to continue into the night as rescuers tried to reach the two people seen in the debris. “We take it one log at a time,” Bennett said. “They’re wired three together in stacks, so we have to cut the wire and move them one at a time. So it’s a lengthy process.”County picks first water district board By Erin MAGRUDER Staff Writer Comal County Commissioners appointed temporary board members to the Southeast Trinity Groundwater Conservation District Thursday. The five community members chosen own land over the Trinity Aquifer and were hand-picked by commissioners to protect and conserve the aquifer. The temporary board members are: • Christian Dullnig of the Bulverde area, appointed by Commissioner Jay Minikin; • Emie Lee of the Canyon Lake area, appointed by Commissioner Jack Dawson; • Larry Hull of the Spring Branch area, appointed by County Judge Danny Scheel; • Jill Sondeen, who lives near Farm-to-Market Road 1863, appointed by Commissioner Cristina Zamora; and • Starr Carey, who lives on the north side of Guadalupe River, appointed by Commissioner Moe Schwab. The board members will serve until the next legislative session and will work with the public to protect and conserve the aquifer, Dullnig said, a retired geologist and appointed temporary chairman of the district. “We need to communicate to the people the importance of protecting the property owner’s water rights,” Dullnig said. “Our meetings will be a public forum to listen to the needs of the public.” Sondeen, a physiologist, said as a property owner near the Bulverde area, she was sensitive to the water availability concerns of residents. “I have really studied the aquifer and communicated with my neighbors about how to make sure the aquifer is protected,” Sondeen said. Originally, county officials sought to create a multicounty groundwater conservation district that would include other areas that rely on the Trinity Aquifer such as Blanco, Hays, Kendall and northern Bexar counties. When most of the counties denied to support the district’s formation, commissioners pursued a single county district to protect the valuable natural resource the aquifer provides. However, the request was lumped with 22 other water district proposals in a bill sponsored by state Sen. J.E. “Buster” Brown. The resulting legislation allowed counties to create temporary districts with limited authority. The groundwater conservation district will not be allowed to conduct elections, have eminent domain, make long-term management plans, assess taxes, issue bonds or annex and consolidate districts. Although the groundwater conservation district will have limited authority, temporary board member Ernie Lee said he was optimistic about what the district would be able to accomplish. “There are some opportunities there to do what a water conservation district should do,” Lee said. “I am very pleased the county has taken this action.” Wildfire threatens county By Erin MAGRUDER Staff Writer An extreme wildfire threat spans most of Texas, and Comal County is no exception. In fact, the New Braunfels area made a list of the top four driest places to live in the entire state, according to recent reports from the Texas Forest Service. With no recorded rainfall in New Braunfels for the past three weeks, residents should be prepared to settle in for a long, dry winter, the National Weather Service said. NWS has predicted Central Texans will not see any significant relief from the drought until springtime. Meanwhile, residents should take the fire threat seriously, and strictly abide by the bum ban that has been in place in the county since Aug. 9, Comal County Fire Marshal Lin Manford said. “We had three grass fires in the county last week, and three the week before — all human caused,” Manford said. “The majority of fires are caused by a controlled bum that got out of control.” Because of the dryness of the vegetation, fires are caused by unusual sources such as a welding spark, the catalytic converter of an automobile or a cigarette. To put the wildfire danger into perspective, the Texas Forest Service relies on the Keetch-Byram Drought Index (KBDI), which measures the moisture of the livingSee WILDFIRE/5AInside Abby.................. ................7A Classifieds......... ...........4-1 OB Comics.............. ................8A Crossword......... ................7A Forum................ ................6A Local Metro........ ................4A Movies............... .......7A, 12A Religion.............. ...........9-1OA Sports................. .............1-3B Today................. ................2A Television........... ................8A Key code 76 Moscow Boys Choir WAI Ll/Herald-Zeitung City councilwoman Jan Kotylo welcomes the Moscow's Boys Choir before their 7 p.m. concert Thursday at the Tree of Life Fellowship Church, 652 N. Loop 337. ;