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New Braunfels Herald Zeitung (Newspaper) - November 28, 2000, New Braunfels, Texas IHI A N EW rJBSSCCSNF ELSHerald-Zeitung Vol. 150 No. 14    14    pages    in    2    sections    November    28,    2000 Tuesday Serving Comal County sinee 1852 50 cents Council votes against fee By Jo Lee Ferguson Staff Writer The New Braunfels City Council removed a proposed fee for new development from the city’s new drainage ordinance Monday night. Council unanimously approved the ordinance declaring the city’s drainage system to be a public utility. It does not go into effect for 30 days. The original ordinance proposed two fees — a drainage utility fee for existing improved properties and a stormwater development fee for proposed new development. However, council voted to remove the stormwater development fee and address it in a different way. The move followed lingering concerns about whether the fee was actually an impact fee and if imposing the fee posed legal liabilities for the city. Council approved the change after City Attorney Floyd Akers presented information to the council shortly before Monday’s meeting. Details about exactly what the information said were not available Monday night. However, Akers indicated during the meeting that there were lingering questions about whether the proposed fee for proposed new development — the stormwater development fee — was an impact fee. By law, cities must follow a separate set of rules for calculating and establishing impact fees. With an impact fee, developers pay a fee based on a development’s impact on a watershed. A development that does not affect drainage in a watershed would pay nothing, for instance. See COUNCILy5A Two escape from Comal jail Manhunt under way for convicted felons On The Lamb JOHNNY LEE COOPER Age: 27 White male, 5-feet-11 205 pounds Brown hair Green eyes a - W ' . CHRIS PACE/Herald-Zeitung A pair of Comal County Jail inmates got over or around the facility fence early Monday in the first jail escape since 1993. Detectives were still looking for them Monday. WAYNE EDWARD WEIRICH Age: 37 White male 5-feet-9 190 pounds Black hair Brown eyes By Ron Maloney Staff Writer Comal County sheriffs deputies and Texas Rangers are searching for a pair of inmates who escaped from Comal County Jail early Monday — and are considered dangerous. Chief Deputy Bill Collins said Wayne Edward Weirich, 37, of Fredericksburg, and Johnny Lee Cooper, 27, of Comal County, were noticed missing from a work detail at 2:15 a.m. Both were described in a sheriffs office press release as “dangerous.” Anyone encountering them should use caution and contact authorities. Patrol deputies searched overnight, and by dawn, Texas Rangers and the sheriffs’ criminal investigation division detectives took over the search,\ looking for possible leads in Comal and neighboring counties. The sheriffs office has opened an internal investigation into the escape, Collins said. Weirich and Cooper were “trusties” who were buffing and waxing jail floors at the time of their predawn escape, Collins said. Trusties are inmates who are not considered dangerous in the jail environment and are allowed to work at jobs during their confinement. Some jail inmates have jobs in the kitchen, laundry room or other areas of the facility. Collins said the pair, both scheduled for transfer to state prisons once local appeals or court cases were concluded, were residents of O Block, a medi-See JAIL/5A To Help Anybody with information on the escape or the escapees can call 620-3400 or the Comal County Crime Stoppers line at 620 TIPS or (800) 640-8422. Comal County Crime Stoppers offered a $1,000 reward for information leading to their capture. Also, a reward of up to $1,000 was offered for information leading to grand jury indictment of anyone helping the pair by harboring or transporting them. Time Warner plans cable fee hike in January By Jo Lee Ferguson Staff Writer The new year will bring increased prices for Time Warner Cable customers along with some new channels. Beginning Jan. I, basic cable prices will increase 3 percent from $ 10.80 a month to $ 11.10 a month. A majority of Time Warner customers subscribe to the basic, standard and Superstation package, which costs $35.51 a month now. That price will increase by 5 percent to $37.40 a month. “That’s the lowest increase we’ve had on that level of service in six years,” Time Warner President Navarra Williams said. Customers will see the new prices on their January bills, he said. Digital increases will be slightly higher, Williams said, with the increase dependent upon the level of digital service. Premium channel prices will not increase. Time Warner will continue to offer a discount for people age 65 and older. Senior citizens sub scribing to basic standard service receive a $ 1.75 discount per month. Several reasons necessitate the price increase, Williams said. “No. I, the cost of programming continues to rise, and we’re adding new channels,” he said. “Our programming costs, for example, are going to increase by about 20 percent this year, where rates to the customers are only going up by 5 percent. Several new channels were added to various See CABLE/5A Gore vows to not back down yet Transition begins/3A Texas’ lieutenant governor making tentative plans/8A By Ron Fournier AP Political Writer Al Gore defended his unprecedented reach to the courts Monday, declaring “Let the people have their say” by counting every ballot in Florida’s make-or-break presidential election. George W. Bush plunged into the work of building a new government even as scattered rank-and-file Democrats warned that Gore’s time may be running out. - A day after Bush summoned TV cameras to press for Gore’s concession, the vice president laid out his case for letting courts settle the nation’s long-count election. “This is America,” he said with a forced chuckle. “When votes are cast, we count them. We -don’t qfbi-mri^set them aside bemuse its too difficult to count them.” r ^ The prime-time televised address was perhaps Gore’s last, best chance to explain why the closest presidential election in 124 years didn’t end Sunday night when Florida’s top elections officer, a GOP partisan, certified Bush the winner by 537 votes out of 6 million cast. Gore’s support was falling as he went on the air. An overnight poll conducted before the address by CNN/USA Today/Gallup found that 56 percent of Americans said Gore should concede the election compared to 46 percent who said that last week. An ABC-Washington Post survey found similar results. “I guess Bush does have a legitimate right to the presidency, but if I was in Gore’s place, I’d probably be doing the same thing he is,” said Rick Prowell, 39, an electric lineman in Little Rock, Ark. Gore protested the results in a Florida state court earlier See GORE/5A K. JESSIE SLATEN/Herald-Zeitung Nurse Gail Byers from Austin holds handmade signs to support George W. Bush in Austin Monday. Recount Update By the Associated Press —Democrat Al Gore, seeking to overturn Florida’s certification of Republican George W. Bush as the winner of the state’s decisive 25 electoral votes, challenged the results from Palm Beach, Miami-Dade and Nassau counties in state court Monday. —The Bush campaign filed state lawsuits late Sunday in Hillsborough, Okaloosa, Orange, Pasco and Polk counties, charging that they improperly rejected several overseas absentee ballots. —A lawsuit over Palm Beach County’s “butterfly ballot” was sent to the state Supreme Court on Monday. —Both sides agreed Monday to move a Democratic lawsuit accusing Republicans of tampering with 4,700 absentee ballot applications in Seminole County to circuit court. —The Rev. Al Sharpton filed a federal lawsuit in Miami against Florida Secretary of State Katherine Harris, Florida’s board of elections and Bush, saying the state certification before Miami-Dade County could complete a manual recount of ballots disenfranchised minority voters.Inside    c|ieer Fund Abby.............  7A Classifieds.......................5-6B    \ Comics.................  4B Crossword........................7A Forum...............................,.6A Local/Metro........................4A Movies.................................7    A    TheObituaries...........................3A    -MNL    Herald-Zeitung seeks dona- Sp0rts......................*.....1 _3B tions for its annual Cheer Today....................................2A    Fund to provide holiday meals for needy residents. Mail or drop off donations at „ „ . _    707 Landa St. in New KsyOoCTs    Braunfels. Woman pleads guilty to intoxication assault By Ron Maloney Staff Writer A Comal County jury will determine the punishment for a woman who pleaded guilty to driving drunk and causing a 1999 accident that contributed to another woman's death. Christina R Delmoral, 26, admitted Monday to driving drunk in the wrong lane early on Oct. 3, 1999, on Farm-to-Market Road 2722. Her vehicle collided head-on with another vehicle, driven by Gonzalo Perez, 54, of New Braunfels. Perez’s wife, Leticia, 52, was injured and later died. Delmoral, charged with two counts of intoxicated assault with a vehicle, could be sentenced to two to IO years in state prison and fined $ 10,000 for each count. On Monday, jurors were selected for the trial, which is being presided over by District Judge Gary L. Steel. Comal County Deputy District Attorney Ed Springer opened the trial by reading the grand jury indictment on the two intoxicated assault charges, one each for Gonzalo and Leticia Perez. Delmoral stood for the reading. Steel twice asked Delmoral how she would plead She looked directly at the jurors. “Guilty,” she said each time. In his opening statement, Springer told jurors that Delmoral’s blood-alcohol level was .173 percent in a blood test administered at McKenna Memorial Hospital — more than twice the legal limit of .08. He described the impact of the crash, the damage to the involved vehicles and how Leticia Perez had to be cut from her vehicle by New Braunfels firefighters. “I think the defendant should go to state prison for this offense,” Springer said. Defense attorney Mark Clark waived his opening statement. Gonzalo Perez suffered internal injuries that included a possible tom aorta. Leticia Perez suffered two broken legs, dislocated knees, a broken right arm and other internal injuries, including head injuries. Gonzalo Perez was treated for a few days at University Hospital and then released. Leticia Perez died 56 days later from complications because of internal injuries, compound fractures and a brain injury. Delmoral suffered minor injuries in the accident. ;