New Braunfels Herald Zeitung (Newspaper) - October 3, 1999, New Braunfels, Texas
EL PASO, TX 79903-
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Vol. 148, No. 227 52 pages in 5 sections October 3, 1999
Serving Comal County since 1852
Voters OK school bonds
NBISD bond issue passes, 1,688 to 902
The writing’s on the wall: David Rastellini posts New Braunfels school district’s election results Saturday night.
By Heather Todd
Voters in New Braunfels Independent School District passed a $75 million bond issue by an almost two to one margin on Saturday.
The district’s bond election garnered 65 percent of the votes, with 1,688 supporting the bond and 902 voting against it.
The bond election drew about 12 percent — or 2,590 — of the
21,332 registered voters in NBISD.
Voting results from Saturday indicated a narrow victory — 527 votes for and 473 against. But, the $75 million bond won a landslide victory during early voting.
Out of 1,595 patrons taking advantage of early voting, 1,161 patrons voted for the bond and 429 voted against.
On Saturday, several district officials and bond supporters at the district’s Education Center anxiously
awaited results from polling locations.
Superintendent Ron Reaves said Saturday, “We are extremely excited for students and for our teachers for the things that we will be able to provide for them and that we will be able to prepare for our additional growth ”
School officials also said they were pleased with voter turnout,
► Three up, three down
Smithson Valley and Canyon soundly defeat their gridiron opponents while New Braunfels clinches an important victory in a double overtime thriller. /1B
► Dittlinger farewell
Library director Vickie Hocker locks the doors on Dittlinger Memorial Library Friday afternoon. Find out more about the library’s closing inside. /4A
► Want to nap?
go right ahead, sleep experts say. They also say many of us are not getting enough sleep. How much is enough? Find out inside today. /IC
Skies will turn partly cloudy today with a high near 90, but early next week the weather will return to cooler temperatures with a slight chance of showers through Thursday. See the complete forecast on page 2A.
Key code 77
Russia, U.S. sign nuclear safeguard accord
MOSCOW (AP) — American experts will conduct millennium-bug tests on some of Russia’s strategic facilities, including nuclear reactors at power plants, U.S. officials said Saturday.
Russia and the United States agreed Saturday that the tests would happen in November. They also decided to establish a crisis center to monitor and safeguard nuclear materials.
Russia, which for a long time denied it was susceptible to the computer bug,
is now considered one of the countries least prepared for computer failures that may come in the year 2000.
“We want to make sure that Soviet nuclear reactors, their telecommunications system, their entire production system is working efficiently and effectively,^” Secretary of Energy Bill Richardson said after meeting with his Russian Atomic Energy Minister Yevgeny Adamov.
Many of Russia’s mainframe com
puters, including those working at nuclear reactors, were designed in the 1970s and likely contain the glitch that renders them incapable of distinguishing between the years 1900 and 2000. A computer that misreads the date could automatically shut down or malfunction.
But with paramount economic troubles, the government has had trouble finding the cash to repair potentially troublesome mainframes.
Deregulation lets NBU talk behind closed doors
Enterprise zone eyed for west end of city
By Peri Stone-Palmquist Staff writer
The Greater New Braunfels Chamber of Commerce is looking at establishing a state program in the west end of town to revitalize its economy.
The same program in the east side of town reduced unemployment levels from 10.5 percent to 1.2 percent during a severf-year period.
“It did the job,” said Jim Scheele, director of economic development with the Greater New Braunfels Area Chamber of Commerce, Inc.
The program establishes what’s called an enterprise zone in a “depressed” area, Scheele said.
“It doesn’t mean it’s a bad part of town or bad people live there," he said. “There’s just a high level of unemployment.”
Some businesses who set up shop and hire residents living within the zone receive various state and local incentives, including tax abatements, local sales tax refunds and utility reductions.
The Texas Department of Economic Development administers the program, called the Texas Enterprise Zone Program.
Currently, the chamber is investigating areas in town that would be eligible.
“We’re doing our homework now,” Scheele said.
An area must meet certain criteria, such as high unemployment and population loss, high poverty levels, low income, substantial losses of business or jobs and deteriorating structures.
The zone must be at least one square mile in size and no greater than 20 square miles.
To establish a zone, a city and/or county must nominate a
Feel the pow-wow
A dancer in Native American clothing performs the gourd dance at the 1999 Moving Waters Pow Wow at Canyon Lake Saturday. The event ends Sunday afternoon at River Valley Resort on River Road. Right: Volunteer John Guenzel presents awards to the Tiny Tots dancers for their performances.
Board adopts ‘competitive matters’ resolution
By Peri Stone-Palmquist Staff writer
A resolution approved by New Braunfels Utilities trustees Thursday allows them to discuss a number of issues behind closed doors new state law gives them the authority to do it.
The resolution was made possible by the electricity deregulation bill approved by the Texas Legislature earlier this year. This provision was opposed by open meetings advocates.
The resolution allows the board to decide in closed session whether a matter is “competitive.” If the majority of the board agrees the issue is competitive, it can treat the information as confidential and discuss it in closed session.
The information cannot be kept confidential from New Braunfels City Council, who governs NBU. But the public, including customers, potential competitors and the media, would not have access to the information, except for a general description of the matter discussed.
“This is one of the first steps the board will have to take in preparation of Senate Bill 7,” General Manager Paula DiFonzo said.
Under SB 7, investor-owned utilities are forced into competition by Jan. I, 2002. Municipal-owned
utilities such as NBU, how-DlrUNZU , .
ever, have the choice
whether to open the market for competinon
One section of the bill authorizes public power utilities to determine areas of operation that are related to competitive activities and treat those as confidential, DiFonzo said.
Open meetings advocates opposed this provision of Senate Bill 7 because it allowed broad discretion over what could be discussed in closed session, said Dolph Tillotson, legislative chairman for the Texas Daily Newspaper Association.
Tillotson is also the publisher of the Galveston County Daily News, a sister publication of the New Braunfels Herald-Zeitung.
“The old law is weak in that area because it has such a big loophole that allows government bodies to discuss proprietary informa-WENTWORTH tjon that might damage their ability to compete,” Tillotson said. “It allows way too much discretion.”
Senator Jeff Wentworth, R-San Antonio, who helped write the legislation, said it made “good common sense ”
If a privately ow ned utility is not required to release financial information but a publicly-owned utility is, that public utility is put at a