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New Braunfels Herald Zeitung (Newspaper) - October 9, 2005, New Braunfels, Texas NB Fire Department works to keep seniors safe DAVID INGRAM/Herald-Zeitung Comal ISD Superintendent Marc Walker watches as Frazier Elementary student Desiree Storch and others work on an experiment during science class. By Ron Maloney Staff Writer In January 2003, an 81-year-old New Braunfels woman died in her bedroom in an early morning fire that destroyed her home. On the dresser near where the woman was found was a smoke detector. It wasn’t mounted properly, and its battery had been disconnected. In 2004, eight seniors in Texas died in residential fires, said State Fire Marshal Paul Maldonado. The New Braunfels Fire Department is doing its part to help prevent such deaths by offering to bring smoke detectors to seniors’ homes, install them and then return on a yearly basis to make sure they still work. Maldonado, Mark Hanna of the Insurance Council cf Texas, New Braunfels Fire Marshal Darren Brinkkoeter and Comal County Fire Marshal Un Manford met recently at the city’s central fire station to highlight the local smoke detector program and to launch Fire Prevention Week, which in New Braunfels is by proclamation Fire Prevention Month. It begins today. Fire Prevention Week is set each year as a reminder to Americans of the damage and loss of life a fire can cause. It is set to mark the anniversary of the great Chicago fire of Oct. 8-11, 1871. More than three square miles of the city was destroyed; 420 peope died and 400,000 were left homeless. Each year, New Braunfels firefighters emphasize fire safety in schools by providing demonstrations and information to students, Brinkkoeter said. STAY SAFE ■ lf you're 65 or over and own your own home, the New Braunfels Fire Department will install a new smoke detector or check your existing one to ensure it's working properly. For information, call fire administration at 608-2120 between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. Monday through Friday. Firefighters also work to reach seniors by providing free smoke detectors and by conducting safety inspections in homes. The smoke detectors, he said, go to the home of anyone 65 and older who needs one. There is no installation charge. “And each October, we go back and change their batteries and ensure they still work,’’ Brinkkoeter said. The Insurance Council of Texas donated 500 smoke detectors to the New Braunfels program. Former police officer and Mayor Doug Miller donated another 500 in conjunction with Travelers Insurance and his local agency, Miller and Miller Insurance. “New Braunfels already has a great smoke alarm program in place. We want to add to it. Our program is called, ‘We want to alarm Texas,’” Hanna said. “We think these smoke alarms will serve about 300 elderly people in New Braunfels. We hope this will not only protect property, but their lives as well.” Miller, whose business includes home insurance policies, said the program was a natural one to support. “If this can save lives and reduce losses, that’s what we’re interested in doing,” Miller said. “We want to help people." To get a new extinguisher installed or for information, call fire administration at 608-2120 between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. Monday through Friday.WALKER CONTINUED FROM Page 1ABond package has consumed early days do,” he said. “I try not to deal with the past, but there are issues I will be confronted with.” Walker’s first day on the job was Aug. 31, less than a month before CISD presented voters with a $189 million bond package. Trustees chose to break the bond into two parts — Proposition I for $155 million and Proposition 2 for $34 million — to fund the construction of new schools and renovation of existing facilities. The district needs the new schools and renovations that the bond would supply, Walker said, but he also understands that voters are hesitant to approve more money when the improvements promised by the 1999 bond are not Finished. “I think with the last bond we were overly optimistic,” he said. “They thought that the bond would take them farther than it did.” Though trustees underestimated how fast the district would grow, Walker said he has a wealth of experience dealing with population explosions. He came to CISD from Pflugerville ISD, a Class 5A district near Austin where he served as deputy superintendent. “One thing I’m good at is initiating change,” he said. “A large portion of people don’t like change, but I’m used to changing demographics, finding land and dealing with an influx of diversity." Walker already has led CISD to begin negotiations on land for new schools in both the Canyon and Smithson Valley feeder areas. Though the proposed bond doesn’t go before voters until Dec. 13, Walker said that now is the time to get growth under control. “The land prices seem high now, but we don’t have a concept of what high will be in a few years,” he said. “Gas prices are also driving up the cost of construction, but if growth slows, we won’t sell bonds and we ll sell back the land.” The proposed bond is estimated to meet the district’s needs for Five years, but will likely be followed with another bond. If passed, the bond would allow for renovations to several schools, including Frazier. Goodwin Elementary is expected to become an alternative school. “I hope to make this area a lot better,” he said. “Right now, we have a lot of lean-to’s and portables we can get rid of.” However, he also was surprised to Find innovative use of resources at schools such as Frazier. The third-grade teachers pooled their resources and built a science lab that is used by all grades. Third-grade teacher Elizabeth Adams said the faculty was lucky to have a chance to make the learning environment more hands-on. “We’re very excited about the science lab,” she said, watching students in their diaper dissection. “Although I don’t know what kind of real world lesson this is.” Betsy Nash, principal of Frazier and Goodwin, said the students also use the lab to prepare for the science portion of the Texas Assess-ment of Knowledge and Skills. “A lot of what is on the fifth - grade TAKS test is based on third grade objectives," she said. Frazier received a recognized rating for last year’s TAKS scores, along with seven other elementaries. Three schools were rated acceptable, and Canyon Middle School received an unacceptable rating. No schools were rated exemplary. Walker said although lower ratings were based on confusion over new tests, he would not rest until scores were exemplary throughout the district. “Our major focus has to be student achievement,” he said. “They just changed the testing system, and the teachers and students have to adjust, but we will again have all exemplary and recognized schools.” Building and reorganizing are important for the future, Walker said, but the most immediate part of his job is caring for the welfare of the students. “Watching kids be successful is always the most satisfying part of my job,” he said. “They’re just like .sponges, soaking everything up.” Thousands of children missing school because of Rita GROVES (AP) — Like most 9-year-olds, Lennon Comeaux isn’t all that upset that he has been out of school since Hurricane Rita toppled trees, tore off roofs and smashed windows in this East Texas town nearly two weeks ago. Lennon has helped his parents clean the yard, reads while its daylight outside — there’s still no electricity—and cares for his cats, parakeet, puppy, turtle and toads. Tens of thousands haven’t been in a classroom since days before Hurricane Rita slammed into the Gulf Coast on Sept. 24. More than three dozen East Texas districts were put out of business temporal Uy. “He did ask us this morning if he was going to get paid for this,” his mother, Joni Comeaux, said with a laugh. “I was trying to make some money,” Lennon said with shy smile. Joni Comeaux and her hus- DRAINAGE CONTINUED FROM Page 1A City council could make final decision would address all of the plain-tiffs' legal concerns, he stressed the ordinance was not a reaction to the lawsuit. “We were working on this before they filed suit,” Zech said. “It would have come before city council if they had just waited.” Plaintiffs' attorney Robin Melvin of Austin did not return calls from the Herald-Zeitung Friday but previously said she and her clients were looking forward to seeing the changes. TWO weeks ago, the city voluntarily agreed to an injunction against the fees established by the existing ordinance. If approved, the new ordinance will supersede the injuction and once again place the mandatory fees in band, Jay, said Rita is teaching better lessons than anything Lennon could get in a classroom. “It’s been a good life lesson for him, though, because we faced a lot of adversity and a lot of discomfort, if anything, and he’s kind of had to roll with the punches and pull his own weight,” Jay Comeaux said. “So that trade-off for the book knowledge is a life lesson.” Lennon said Rita, which caused some roof and siding damage to the family’s 75-year-old house, and the hurricane’s aftermath have taught him patience. "I kind of like it," Lennon said of his time away from the classroom, even though most of his classmates aren’t around to play with. Joni Comeaux said she thought briefly about putting Lennon in a school near Austin, where the family waited out the hurricane, but effect for developments that escaped them previously. If the developers do not decide to drop their suit based on the new ordinance, they will plead their case in the 274th Judicial District Court on Dec. 13. Monday’s vote will be the second time the current city council has considered modifying the existing ordinance. decided against it. If enrolled elsewhere, she said, Lennon would have to adjust and keep up at a new school then cover the same material again back home. “It was really too many changes for our family,” she said. “It was too much all at once and we just decided to come home, make the best of it.” Willis Mackey, the superintendent of Port Arthur Independent School District, says district officials were still assessing damage at its 18 campuses and didn t know when any of the schtx)ls would have electricity and water. “It has been very difficult,” said Mackey, who has been working from Houston and a Port Arthur hotel powered by generator. “It has been a strain on the community and on the district that was unforeseen. We are going to have to put this puzzle back together as best we can.” Zech proposed removing the mandatory requirement July 25, but council was evenly divided on the decision, ending debate with a 3-3 tie vote. Mayor Bruce Boyer, Mayor pro tem Gale Pospisil and Councilwoman Valerie Hull voted for the change, with councilwomen Sonia Munoz-Gill, Beth Sokolyk and Kathleen Krueger voting against it. RU ENE Family KAREN RUDE DDS 'Let my family taka caca af your family7 invisalign straight teeth, no braces1” Free Whitening with Invisalign Mon. - Sat. Mojo, CHKM cants accepted int jMuty fswnany ___«vwdet>» 1528 E. Common St. Suite 9 • New Braunfels • 830 626-1 ll I / EUSMUDm McKenna Children's Museum Wishes to Thank the Following Who Helped Make Taste of the Town 2005 Such a Success: Pattie! (rating Restaurants Applebee's, Baskin Robbins, Blue Bell, Chick Fil-A, Chili's, Clear Springs, Eden Home, Granzin Bar-B-Q, Gristmill, Gruene Onion, Gruene River Grill, Janie's Table, Johnny Carino's, K&G Steakhouse, Live Oak Grill, McKenna, Miss Ruby's, Montana Mike's, Myron's, New Braunfels Smokehouse, Old Fashion Bakery, River Rock Steak Haus, Rudy's, Simple Simon's, Starbucks, Royal Cheesecakes of Texas, and Texas Cheesesteak. And the Winners Are-. (Judged by Texas Monthly, San Antonio Express-News, Herald Zeitung, and KGNB) Best Appetizer - Gristmill, Best Main Course - Montana Mike's, Best Dessert - Old Fashion Bakery, Best Breakfast - Eden Home, Best Barbecue - Granzin Bar-B-Q, Best Italian - Johnny Carino's, Best Mexican - Miss Ruby's, Best German - River Rock Steak Haus, Best Presentation - Myron's, and Peoples' Choice - Gristmill. Sponsors First Commercial Bank, TXI, Natural Bridge Wildlife Ranch, New Braunfels New Car Dealers Association, American Landscape Lighting, FM 1863, Schlitterbahn, D.R. Horton, Gastroenterology of New Braunfels-San Marcos-Luling, 92.1 FM, 1420 KGNB Sporting News Radio, William Edge Salon 8c Day Spa, GVEC, Money Mailer, Sysco, Culligan, Written in Stone, Heart of Texas Promotional Products, Turner Outdoor Advertising, Children's Dentistry of New Braunfels, and Sodexho. Table Reservations Doeppenschmidt Funeral Home, Eclipsys, Emergency Service Partners, First State Bank and Miller & Miller, Gerlyn Friesenhahn, M.D., Lambda Construction Company, Oakwood Baptist Church, RealEyes Vision Center, Rita Radosevich's "Lunch Bunch," and Wiggins Company. And a Spacial Thank You to All of the live and silent auction donors, Taste of the Town general committee members, generous volunteers, Canyon High School ROTO, Comal County Fair Association, David Ferguson - Master of Ceremony, TK Schneider - Live Auctioneer, Leah Fillion and Tosin Mfon - Texas Monthly Dining Guide Editorial Assistants, John Griffin, Food Editor and Bonnie Walker, Staff Food Writer - San Antonio Express-News, Ann Cousin - New Braunfels Herald Zeitung Correspondent, First Baptist Church, Christ Presbyterian Church, and New Braunfels Service League. £20.620.0939 • www.mckennachildren.orgSunday, October 9, 2005 — Herald-Zeitung — Page 7A ;