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  • Location: New Braunfels, Texas
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New Braunfels Herald Zeitung (Newspaper) - November 22, 2005, New Braunfels, Texas TUESDAY. NOVEMBER 22,2005 t ************** ALL f0K adc im rn hmm 12/50/05 SOUTHULST HICR'OPUOLISHFR'S 2627 E VADELL DR EL PASO TX 19m 111 nll1111 ii I,, 111,,,, JI,,,|(11 ZEI TUNG Serving New Braunfels and Comal County since 1852. DEAR ABBY 7A CLASSIFIEDS 8A COMICS 6A CROSSWORD 6A . FORUM 4A Sunny ; OBITUARIES 3A SPORTS 5A TV GRIDS 7A High Low 76 37 SPORTS FORUM BALL CONTROL ROAD OF LIFE Turnovers hurt Canyon in Cougarettes' hoop loss to Marion. Page 5 It's much better to enjoy the trees than to gawk at all the billboards. Page 4 Vol. 154, No. 312 10 pages, 1 sections 500 I 56825 00001NB, CenterPoint in fight over gas rate hike By Leigh Jones Staff Writer New Braunfelsers opening this month’s CenterPoint Energy bills are in for a shock — rates an average of 13 percent higher than last months. The $4.96 average monthly increase comes at a bad time — the beginning of the holiday shopping season — when many families already are stretched thin financially. But the extra expense could be doubly unwelcome because it was completely unexpected. November’s bills will be the first notice most people have of the rate increase because, unlike other local energy companies, CenterPoint did not advertise its intentions in the Herald-Zeitung, the newspaper of general circulation for the city. The company did take out an advertisement in the San Antonio Express-News, an announcement the city of New Braunfels deemed insufficient in meeting the state requirements for providing public notice. CenterPoint District Manager Scott Doyle said the company met its obligation when it notified the city on lune 30 of its intent to raise rates. I Ie blamed the current fight on the city’s lack of a proper response to Center-Point’s notice. “By law, the city has three actions it can take — accept, reject or do nothing,” he said. “The city of New Braun fels did not do one of those three options, and so we put the rate into effect. The city indefinitely suspended it, and that is not one of the options under the law." Despite Doyle’s claims the company complied with the law, New Braunfels City Council members unanimously voted to prevent the company from enforcing the new charges by suspending the rate’s effective date indefinitely or until the council feels CenterPoint has met its obligation for proper notice. On Monday, city council will consider a resolution ordering CenterPoint to cease and desist charging and collecting the higher fees. New Braunfels is not die only city doing battle with the gas company. Seguin, San Marcos and Bastrop officials also claim their citizens have not received adequate notice of the rate change. Seguin will consider its See RATE, Page 3A Wurstfest’s tally: $2 million worth of good times By Ron Maloney Staff Writer All in all, 2005 was far from the Wurst year possible for this city’s signature sausage festival. According to figures released Monday, attendance at the 45th annual Wurstfest in New Braunfels was well over 100.000, with sales of over $2 million. Most of that money went into the coffers of local nonprofits that operate concession stands at the annual 10-day festival, which was conceived in 1961 as a way to raise money during what had been the slow part of the year in New Braunfels. “We’ve had a very good year,” said Wurstfest Executive Director Suzanne Herbelin. “Admissions and concessions were both up 15 percent over last year.” Paid admissions were about 98,200. Taken with promotional passes, band crews and various free admission programs, Wurstfest enjoyed a banner year, she said. “We know we surpassed the attendance average of 100.000," Herbelin said, adding that die event pumped BY THE NUMBERS I Over $2 million — Total sales at this year's Wurstfest I Over 100,000 — Attendance at this year's event I 98,200 sions Paid admis- an estimated $6.5 million into the local economy. The turnout, while good, was not as high as in festivals past, said Director of Wurst Relations I lerb Skoog. “That’s largely by design," he said. A few years ago, the Wurst Association made a decision to emphasize the cultural and historic aspects of the festival — and not the beer drinking. What resulted, Skoog said, was a more family-friendly atmosphere and a better-behaved crowd. “Its a place to come with your children and have a good time,” Herbelin said. “Theres room for growth, but a steady, controlled growth is what we’re going for.” See WURSTFEST, Page 3A READY FOR SOME FOOTBALL? Science and life lessons have gone to the birds at Canyon Middle School. LEARNING TAKES FLIGHT Kids learn Photos by DAVID INGRAM/Herald-Zeitung Ashley McKeller gives her pigeon a kiss goodbye before taking the bird outside and releasing it last week at Canyon Middle School. life lessons on the wings of pigeons By Jessica Sanders Staff Writer Pig the pigeon is a survivor. Cuddled in the hands of Canyon Middle School students, Pig finds his way home to Seguin every week without getting picked off by a hawk. “Pig is the best one,” said seventh-grader Gigi Sciaraffa. Pig has a lot of competition for best bird. Stef Paramoure’s seventh-grade science class currently has a student-to-pigeon ratio of about 2-to-l. The birds visit once a week to be measured, weighed and tested with magnetic sex indicators. The students graph the pigeons growth before releasing them to find their own way home. Paramour said she came up with the project idea while visiting the Seguin Outdoor Learning Center two years ago. “I thought, why don’t we try to graph the birds?” she said. The learning center donates space and feed, and employee Tom Bouquet brings the See BIRDS, Page 2A Storms’ effects expected to flatten big travel season By Ron Maloney Staff Writer The lingering effect of two major Gulf Coast hurricanes and their resultant high gasoline prices are expected to keep travel fiat this week — often the biggest one for travel in this country — when compared to Thanksgiving 20C-4. Rose Rougeau, spokes woman for AAA-Texas, said 37.3 million people nationwide are expected to take trips of 50 miles or more this week, compared to 37 million who did so last year. In Texas, that number will be 3.27 million, just down from 3.29 million in 2004 — a drop of less than I percent. Of them, 2.8 million, or 85 percent, are See TRAVEL, Page 3A TRAVEL HELP In case of emergency, remember these numbers: ■ The Texas Department of Public Safety Stranded/Disabled Motorist Helpline number for roadside emergencies is 800-525-5555. ■ The Comal County Sheriff's Office can be reached at 830-620-3200 or 885-4883. ■ The New Braunfels Police Department can be reached at 608-2179. ■ For emergencies, dial 9-1-1. Trustees OK plan for Oak Run By Jessica Sanders Staff Writer Oak Run Sixth Grade Center may become the New Braunfels Independent School District’s Second middle school after a $4,763 million expansion project was approved Monday. NBISD board members voted 5-0 to approve the most extensive and costly option for Oak Run. Board President Jorge Mal donado and Trustee Paul Fisher were absent. Renovations to Oak Run were included in the district’s 1995 bond package, but the cost and scope of die project increased after a study found that the district’s growth would require a larger campus. The price also increased with inflation. The approved expansions include a two-story, 14-classroom addition totaling more than 20,000 square feet. Facilities Director Daryl Stoker said the construction budget will cover $1,278 million, with the remaining $3,458 million coming from bond and reserve funds. The board also considered less expensive options, but found that the price would be higher in the long run, school officials said. T he original plans included four classrooms and renovations to the band hall, gym See NBISD, Page A Thanksgiving tradition The Herald-Zeitung is looking for Comal County families who have a tradition of playing backyard football on Thanksgiving. If your family does and would like to be part of a future story, e-mail us your contact information to news^herald-zeitung. ;