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New Braunfels Herald Zeitung (Newspaper) - November 30, 2005, New Braunfels, Texas Page 4A — Herald-Zeitung — Wednesday, November 30, 2005 FORUM Herald-Zeitung Serving New Braunfels and Comal County since 1852. New Braunfels Zeitung was founded 1852; New Braunfels Herald was founded 1890. The two papers merged in 1957 and printed in both German and English until 1958, Managing Editor Editor and Publisher Jeremy Pafford Doug Toney Circulation Director Jeff Fowler Advertising Director Neice Bell Business Manager Velerie Shields News Editor David Rupkalvis Our Opinion Option 7 needs city’s approval Option 7 offers the most help to property owners who now find themselves in the 100-year floodplain. Bl esidents who recently found themselves to „be in the new 100-year floodplain map should take heed of today’s 6:30 p.m. meeting of the New Braunfels City Council in regard to drainage improvements to the South Tributary. City Engineer Mike Short will give council members a study of the watershed and seven options for improvements that would decrease flooding in the area. Short said Monday he would like to focus council’s attention on the two proposed alternatives that would remove the most properties from the 100-year floodplain. One preferred alternative, Option 4, calls for $3.5 million in channel modifications to the tributary between FM 725 and Pahmeyer Road. The changes would widen the bottom of the channel from 30 feet to 200 feet and would remove 183 properties from the floodplain. The second preferred alternative, Option 7, combines the channel modifications with a 35-acre storm water detention basin upstream of County Line Road. The additional structure would double the project cost to $7 million but would remove 311 properties from the floodplain. City council members have ample funding for either project from the $16 million portion of the 2004 bond package allocated for drainage improvements. Although Option 7 is the most expensive option, it is the one for which the council should authorize spending. The money already is available for the city to spend, so there’s no need to scrounge through the budget to find the funding the drainage improvements Option 7 requires. And the difference between removing 183 properties from the floodplain and removing 311 is substantial — just ask one of the property owners that would be included Option 7 but not Option 4. Those property owners with federally backed or insured mortgages who now find themselves in the floodplain will be required to get flood insurance when the new map takes effect Jan. 5. Other lending institutions also might require homeowners to get the insurance. Homeowners who do not have a mortgage are not required to get insurance. Rates vary depending on the value of the property and its location within the floodplain, but according to National Flood Insurance Program estimates, a $100,000 home and its contents could generate yearly premiums as low as $501 or as high as $907. We urge all those property owners along the South Tributary who were affected by the revised floodplain map to make their voices heard on the drainage improvement alternatives, and we urge the city council to go with Option 7. LETTERS POLICY ■ Letters must be 250 words or less. ■The Herald-Zeitung reserves the right to edit all submissions. ■ Guest columns should be 500 words or less and must be accompanied by a photo. ■ Address and telephone number must be included so authorship can be confirmed. Mail letters to: Letters to Editor do Herald-Zeitung RO. Drawer 311328 New Braunfels, TX 78131-1328 Fax them to: (830) 606-3413 e-mail them to: news@herald- Woe* than OumeL oveft a "caning Lecs Gin, tv une ItJU To HAK IT IN THe / SR/ftir of THe fcVK&A/.. bv AND Mew / multo cetiG lous y&T-CKe/. Cmu»\ GUESTCOLUMN Taking action against bird flu There is a great deal of public discussion over avian influenza or "bird flu.” With so much information coming at us, it is sometimes difficult to separate scientific fiction from scientific fact. It is important that we understand the truth behind what causes this disease, how it spreads and what is being done to protect the public. After all, information is one of our strongest weapons in Fighting this illness. Most people recognize the flu as the common respiratory illness that makes thousands of Americans sick each year. The flu is not usually life-threatening to healthy people. The avian "bird” flu poses a more serious threat to public health. When transmitted to humans, the virus can lead to serious respiratory distress. Humans do not have the same natural immunity to bird flu as they do to the regular flu. This vulnerability, combined with the ability of a virus to mutate into a more contagious form, can lead to what is known as "pandemic influenza.” According to the Department of Health and Human Services, pandemic flu occurs when a new strain of influenza appears for which people have no immunity, and which is easily transmitted from person to person. Unlike seasonal flu, it can be fatal to the young and healthy as well as to the frail and sick. Scientists know that the disease is spread to humans through contact with blood, feces or fluids of infected birds. Normal cooking temperatures will kill the virus. It is no surprise that many of the bird flu victims in East Asia, where the viral strain was first detected in 2003, were poultry farmers or people who had regular contact with raw poultry. The world has seen three pandemic flu events over the last century. Scientists now believe that viruses from birds contributed to each of them. The first was the infamous flu outbreak of 1918, which infected approximately 500,000 Americans. The other outbreaks took place in 1957 and 1968 and may have killed up to 2 million people across the world. The numbers are scary, but the good news is that we are not currendy experiencing a global flu pandemic. Only isolated reports of human-to-human transmission have been reported. With history as our guide, we have learned that early detection and containment can prevent another pandemic. This month, the federal government outlined a national strategy to protect us against pandemic flu. The plan would create an Inter- LAMARSMITH Lamar Smith, R-San Antonio, has represented District 28, which includes most of Comal County, in the U.S. House of Representatives since 1987. national Partnership on Avian and Pandemic Influenza. This global surveillance and preparedness network will help detect and respond quickly to any outbreaks of disease. The partnership requires vulnerable countries to immediately share information and provide samples to the World Health Organization. Domestically, the government plans to launch a National Bio-Surveillance Initiative. This project will help quicldy detect, quantify and respond to bird flu outbreaks. It also will deliver information to local, state, national and international public health officials. Improved surveillance will help slow or stop the spread of a pandemic. Second, the federal government plans to stockpile vaccines and antiviral medications, while accelerating the development of new vaccine technologies. The National Institutes of Health are working with vaccine manufacturers to develop new cell-culture techniques that will bring pandemic flu vaccines to market faster. Finally, the federal government is asking each state and local community to create effective pandemic emergency plans. States will be asked to test their plans through mock exercises and stockpile critical medical equipment, such as ventilators. According to the HHS, Americans can decrease their risk of infection during a pandemic by developing a preparedness plan with their families and coworkers. For information about the virus and about developing a plan, log onto A list of frequently asked questions and answers on avian flu is available at the Centers for Disease Control’s Web site, facts.htm. Although bird flu has not yet reached American soil, it is a serious threat and deserves our attention. As a member of the House Subcommittee on Emergency Preparedness, I will continue to monitor this issue closely. iwffe United States Government PRESIDENT ■ George W. Bush 1600 Pennsylvania Ave., NW Washington, D.C. 20500 SENATE ■ Kay Bailey Hutchison Russell Senate Office Building Room 284 Washington, D.C. 20510 Telephone: (202) 224-5922 Fox: (202) 224-0776 Web: (Send e-mails through Web site.) SAN ANTONIO OFFICE: 145 Duncan Drive, Suite 120 San Antonio 78226 Telephone: (210) 340-2885 Fex: (210) 349-6753 ■ John Cornyn Russell Senate-Hart Room 517 Washington, D.C. 20510 Telephone: (202) 224-2934 Fex: (202) 228-2856 Web: (Send e-mails through Web site.) AUSTIN OFFICE: 221 West Sixth St., Suite 1530 Austin 78701 Telephone: (512) 469-6034 Fex: (512) 469-6020 SAN ANTONIO OFFICE: 600 Navarro, Suite 210 San Antonio 78205 Telephone: (210) 224-7485 Fex: (210) 224-8569 CONGRESSMAN ■ Lamar Smith Rayburn House Office Building Room 2184 Washington, D.C. 20515 Telephone: (202) 225-4236 Fex: (202) 225-8628 Web eddress: (Send e-mails through Web site.) SAN ANTONIO OFFICE: 1100 NE Loop 410, Suite 640 San Antonio 78209 Telephone: (210) 821-5024 Fex: (210) 821-5947 ■ Henry Cuellar 1404 Longworth House Office Building Washington, D.C. 20515 Telephone: (202) 225-1640 Fex: (202) 225-1641 Web address: SAN ANTONIO OFFICE: 1149 E. Commerce St., Suite 210 San Antonio 78205 Telephone: (210) 271-2851 Fax: (210) 277-6671 NOW TO CONTACT Texas Government miimimmi GOVERNOR ■ Rick Perry State Capitol, Room 2S.1 P.O. Box 12428 Austin 78711 Telephone: (800) 843-5789 Fax: (512) 463-1849 STATE HOUSE ■ Carter Casteel 254 E. Mill St. New Braunfels 78130 Telephone: (830) 627-0215 E-mail address: [email protected] STATE SENATE ■ Jeff Wentworth 1250 NE Loop 410, Suite 720 San Antonio 78209 Telephone: (210) 826-7800 WHILE IN AUSTIN: Telephone: (512)463-0125 E-mail address: jeff. Wentworth® senate, ■ Judith Zaffirini P.O. Box 627 Laredo 78042-0627 SAN ANTONIO OFFICE: 12702Toepperwein Road #214 San Antonio 78233 Telephone: (210) 657-0095 Fax: (210) 657-0262Stakes are too high to let ‘sunshine patriots’ hijack the battle for Iraq CALTHOMAS Cal Thomas is a columnist for Tribune Media Services International. Direct all mail for Cal Thomas to: Tribune Media Services, 435 N. Michigan Ave, Suite 1500, Chicago. IL 60611, or leave an e-mail at The Bush administration is partly responsible for declining poll numbers and the growing public disapproval of the war in Iraq. Instead of responding immediately to questions concerning the reasons for the war and the honesty of top-level members of the administration, it allowed these allegations to fester until they became accepted, in many quarters, as I fact. This led to an escalation in calls for troop withdrawals and exit timetables that the president and members of his administration wanted to avoid, for fear it would give our enemy the perception of a weak America with no stomach for protracted warfare. The “insurgents” are not the only reason the war is difficult. The United States is forced to fight differently from the terrorists. The insurgents use torture, beheadings and “suicide bombings” that take the lives of noncombatants. But when someone charged that the United States uses intense or unusual (whatever that means) techniques to pry information from a captive that could save lives, war critics and the media go wild and suggest the U.S. military is replicating Saddam Hussein’s torture chambers. Terrorists also are winning the psychological warfare, partly because the jihadists are unified behind a goal and we often are not. They want territory, and they want to kill “infidels.” American leftists want “peace” without realizing that peace is a byproduct of defeating evil. The left also wants to use the war for partisan political gain and will seek to deprive President Bush of any credit for victory because it could benefit him politically. How sick is that? Terrorists also gain because too many of us do not agree on which side is good and which is evil. Specifically, the left has reversed the political polarity: It sees the United States as evil and if it does not necessarily see the jihadists as good, it views “evil America” as the cause of jihadism. The war’s difficulty is compounded by nations that offer sanctuary to terrorists. The United States cannot easily root out training camps and hiding places because of international accords and agreements. The American judicial system is behind the new realities of this global war. In the United States and Britain, there may be information about people who are not yet breaking the law, but whom authorities believe intend to. They can only be monitored until they act. By then it may be too late. Iraq is a sanctuary among sanctuaries. Losing this war would guarantee Iraq out does Afghanistan under the Taliban as a recruiting and training center, exporting terror worldwide. There is no turning back. This is what too many critics refuse to see. They indulge in fantasies like “Bush lied” about weapons of mass destruction and began the war under false pretenses. In the December issue of Commentary magazine, Norman Podhoretz, in an article entitled “Who Is Lying About Iraq?”, demolishes that myth. He lists the numerous individuals, nations and intelligence agencies worldwide that reached identical conclusions about Saddam Hussein's weapons. They include Hans Blix, who headed the U.N. weapons inspection team that tried to learn whether Saddam had complied with Security Council demands that he destroy weapons of mass destruction he was known to have had and used in the past. A few months before the invasion, Blix wrote of a “relatively new bunker” of 122-mm chemical rocket warheads southwest of Baghdad. He said, “They could be ... the tip of a submerged iceberg.” Blix noted the discovery of those rockets “does not resolve but rather points to the issue of several thousands of chemical rockets that are unaccounted for.” The Podhoretz article is full of quotes from Democrats and others who were once gung-ho to topple Saddam. It also contains facts from bipartisan investigations that have looked into WMD and the run-up to the invasion. It exposes some liars, but President Bush and Vice President Cheney are not among them. The Bush administration has finally started to reply to these modem “summer soldiers and sunshine patriots.” They had better persuade more of the public, or risk losing a war that we must win. ;