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New Braunfels Herald Zeitung (Newspaper) - October 24, 1989, New Braunfels, Texas BEST AVAILABLE COPY My Choice Drug Free Red Ribbon Week activities A drug symposium is slated for 7 p.m. today at Memorial Primary School for community leaders and interested public in (Observance of Red Ribbon Week. Wednesday is Wear Red Day. Lawmaker: $1 billion a start for education BB AUSTIN (AP) — ASI billion appropriation for El RS!) SI Texas’ public schools next year would show that the Legislature is trying to correct what has been ruled an unconstitutional school finance system, says the chairman of the Senate Education Committee. See Page 4 JJJ    #i Ci UTIW Herman & Jentsch the Players of Week Canyon senior f,;* sophorn— VO/’*'99 S0"v! c 'I sin*6 ob New Braunfels EV- 799 03 zh and New Braunfels IO 2- rC named the Heralded for their winning in outstanding defcn-le Herman ran wild See Page 9 Vol. 137, No. 247 707 Lands St., New Braunfels, Texas 78130 (USPS 377-880) 512-625-9144 Tuesday October 24, 1989 25 Cents One Section, 12 PagesCity looking at $1 million for projects By STEPHANIE DAVIS Staff Writer The City of New Braunfels is facing close to a $ I million bill after City Council Monday approved advertising for bids to renovate the old Lowe’s building and allow the city manager to enter into an agreement for a computer system. After a workshop meeting at City Hall and a city-funded dinner at a local restaurant for councilmembers and department heads, the projects were approved unanimously during regular session. Council agreed to allow City Manager Paul Grohman to advertise for bids to renovate the old Lowe’s building for a municipal complex. Architect Michael McChesney said it will take approximately $500,000 to “do everything we wanted to do.” McChesney, who will be paid 7 percent of the total renovation price, said the building on South Casten Avenue will blend in architec turally with the Civic Center and Police Department. The city approved buying the building for $310,000 in July. Grohman said there is a need for the additional office space. He said storage areas in the proposed building can be convened into offices as space is needed and if the Downtown Project or the Safe City Commission were ever eliminated, that also would create more space. Current plans call for all department heads and special projects to move into the building; the old City Hall on North Seguin Avenue will be abandoned if someone can be found to buy or lease it. New Braunfels voters turned down the construction of a new city hall during a 1985 bond election, which called for the remodeling of City Hall and the construction of 5,000 additional square feet at a cost of $1.4 million. City Council also authorized Grohman to enter into agreements for the purchase or lease-purchase of a computer system that will cost approximately $400,000. Computer consultant Chip Collins, representing The Accord Group, informed City Council about the computer implementation process during the workshop meeting. Collins has worked for the city approximately seven months and w ill be paid about $30,000. Councilmembers took Collins’ and the city See CITY. Page 2 CAD to staff office for 4 days in county By DANA OVERSTREET City Editor Appraisers, mappers and the chief appraiser will be stationed in Garden Ridge for four days next month to get acquainted with the people and the property in that arca of die county. “I think it’s an innovative idea,’’ said Chief Appraiser Richard Rhodes, who has been working with Garden Ridge Mayor Walter Yohey on the plans to set up a satellite office in Garden Ridge. “We’re real excited about it,” Rhodes told the Comal Appraisal District board of directors Monday night “This will allow us to interface with the people at the lime the values are made.” Rhodes said the persona! contact will make appraisals more accurate and should cut down on the number of appeals. Appraisal districts are required to reappraise each property every three years. Comal Appraisal District tries to review a1! its property every year, explained Deputy Chief Appraiser Pat Fox. “That doesn’t necessarily mean values are going to go up,” she said, explaining that if property is only reviewed every few years, value may decrease and property owners may pay more than they should until the change is noticed by appraisers. Changes also could mean a property owner is paying less than he should until improvements arc noted. Setting up a temporary satellite office in the Garden Ridge-Bracken area will allow residents of that area to meet the appraisers, pick up and deliver rendition or exemption forms. or simply talk to Rhodes about property taxes. “I will be there if they want mc to specifically go out and look at their place,” Rhodes said. “I know it will increase my familiarity with all the properties out there and I know it will improve accuracy.” If Lite Garden Ridgc-Brackcn program is successful, the group probably will set up a temporary satellite office in the Saltier-Startzvillc area. “In the future, we may actually set up in subdivisions that arc large enough," Rhodes said. See DISTRICT, Page 2 City Council lifts water restrictions Gc *f\# New Braunfels will come out of modified Stage ll of water conservation Wednesday because the Eld wards Aquifer is on the rise, Mayor Doug Miller said Monday. “Now we’re going back to totally Phase I, which is conservation,” Miller announced at the City Council meeting. The Aquifer read 621.56 above mean sea level at Panther Canyon this morning. City Council also approved a resol ution supporting Proposition 8 on the November ballot calling for $400 mil lion in bonds for corrections, menial health and law enforcement facilities to help alleviate overcrowding in the See COUNCIL, Page 2 Team checks out burning chemical plant PASADENA, Texas (AP) — A six-person team ventured into the sunburning rubble of a plastics plant today to detemiine whether rescuers can safely begin searching for 23 workers missing after a series of explosions killed at least one person and injured more than 120. Firefighters and safety experts still hope they might find some survivors, said Phillips spokesman Jere Smith. “You always hope for the best. Our fingers are crossed,” he said. But the emergency medical director for Houston said it was unlikely anyone could survive such an explosion, which shattered windows and rocked buildings for miles around. “We don’t think there’s anybody alive in there,” said Dr. Paul Pepe. Doctors treated 124 people for injuries. Thirty-five were hospitalized, up to six of diem in critical condition, Pepe said. Some had severe burns, he said. Survivors said they had less than half a minute’s warning to get out of the plant after a reactor began leaking flammable gas that ignited in a huge fireball. A series of explosions followed. “I thought it was the end,” said Billy Ridenour, a 35-year-old worker who was inside the plant when the explosions began early Monday afternoon. “I was thinking, ‘Run till you die.’ ” Missing were 20 Phillips employees and three contract workers, said Phillips President Glenn Cox. He did not have information about the one confirmed fatality. “We know these people, we pray for their safety,” Cox said. “It’s a difficult time for all of us.” At daylight, a thin column of smoke was rising from the plant as firefighters and safety experts entered it to judge whether it was safe to send in a larger group of rescuers. Phillips officials said the fire was contained to a few enclosed areas and that the smoke and gas being released were classified as irritants, but were not toxic. “The fire is just about out. That was the objective overnight,” Smith said. “With daylight now we can start to account for the unaccounted.” Seismologists at Rice University in nearby Houston said the blast appeared to be the equivalent of IO tons of dynamite. The first explosion could be felt as faraway as 25 miles. “It was like somebody just dropped anatomic bomb," said Kelly Manerly, a pipefitter at the plant, which makes 4.5 million pounds a day of plastics such as those used in milk jugs and toys. The blasts buckled a ceiling and blew out cafeteria windows at an elementary school about a mile away. No one was injured, but the school’s 700 pupils were sent home. Maintenance worker Roby Clemons said employees had 20 seconds to escape after a warning message was broadcast over the plant’s emergency radio. Workers said they heard a hissing sound and saw a white cloud. The explosion that followed knocked them off their feet. Many then saw a fircbaJI. “It looked like somebody set a boulder on fire and was rolling it towards us,” said Terry Crow son, 37, a construction worker. “Everybody was a-duckin’, a-dodgin’ and a-runnin’,” said D.E. Sonny Mann, 49, an iron-w orker foreman who was able to account for his 150-man crew. “We outran the fire." “I never saw people run so fast,” added Clemons. “There’s nothing you can do but run,” said Lonnie Odgen, who has See EXPLOSION, Page 2 Deputies, agents break up drug lab Comal County sheriff’s office authorities and Drug Enforcement Agency personnel broke down a drug lab in Comal County early Monday, says a sheriff’s department official. “There was an arrest made,” said Chief Deputy Wayne Hoherz. Other information was not available at presstime. Both agencies worked throughout the day gathering information, Hoherz said. The lab was located off of Ranch Road 32. State’s jobless rate drops AUSTIN (AP) — The unemployment rate in the state’s metropolitan areas fell from 7.2 percent in August to 6.3 percent in September, the Texas Employment Commission announced Tuesday. "The jobless rate in Texas finally took the drop we have been wailing for,” Commissioner Mary Scott Nab-ers said. In September 1988, the unemployment rate was 7.1 percent. The 6.3 percent unemployment rate represents about 521,(XX) people seek ing work, more than 100,000 fewer than in August, according to the commission. Each of die state’s major metropolitan areas had declining unemployment. “ The bleakest part of this entire picture is the fact that the state saw losses in trade, manufacturing, mining, construction and transportation and public utilities over the month,” Ms. Nailers said in a statement. “These losses are significant and somewhat ominous because trade and manufacturing have been leading our economic turnaround," she said. “We will watch these areas very closely." The decline came in part because many students and unsuccessful summer job seekers withdrew from the labor force in September, and there were thousands of jobs added as fall semesters began at schools and colleges. In addition, more than 30,(XX) non-St* JOBLESS, Pag* 2 There will he little change in the weather for the next couple of days. It will be sunny and warm with the highs in the 80s and the lows in the 60s. Hierc is a slight chance for rain on Friday. Inside: CLASSIFIED.................... 10    12 COMICS    8 CROSSWORD    J DEAR ABBY HOROSCOPE.............................7 SPORTS... ............. 9-10 TV LISTINGS.................................7 WEATHER ....................................2 Friends for Rivers will meet Wednesday night at 7:30 p.m. at Victoria Bank and Trust annex. A video titled "Pointless Pollution” will be shown. It focuses on sources of pollution in our rivers and lakes All interested jx^rsons are invited. .. T.O.P.S. (Take Off Pounds Sensibly) will host its annual open house tonight at 7 in the laurel Plaza recreation room, 300 Laurel Lane. T.O.P.S. is open to men, women and children over 7. For more information, call 625-8860 or 629-( )845... Al Anon Family Groups will present a Meeting on VV heels ai the MHMR Center, 511 North St., tonight at 8 p.m. Al Anon Family Groups make up a fellowship ct men and women whose lives have been disturbed by the obsessive drinking of a family member or friend ... Bulverde United Methodist Church is hosting its annual Fall Festival Saturday from ll) am. to 4 p.m. The Festival features a Hill Country arts and crafts fair, old-fashioned hake sale, Texas barbecue, food booths, ve he rages, door prizes and fun for the whole family. The church is on U.S. 281 North, eight miles north of Loop 1604..., Sa* STAMMTISCH. Pag? 2 Citizens gather for vigil Concerned officials and citizens gathered in the bandstand on Main Plaza Sunday to pray for victims of drug abuse and kick off Red Ribbon Week activities. Safe City Commission members led the prayer vigil with approximately 50 people. “If we are able to tackle the drug problem, we must teach our children about the dangers of drugs,” said Safe City Commission Chairman Dennis Clarkson following the vigil. “Our children are the parents of the future.” “Not only do we want to have a drug-free America, but we for sure want to have a drug-free community in New Braunfels," said Canyon Middle School Principal Rusty Brockman. “We need to start with the education of the kids.” More than 7,(XX) red ribbons have been distributed in the community. A drug symposium is slated for tonight’s activities for community leaders and interested public in observance of Red Ribbon Week. The special week was originated when Federal Agent Enrique Camarc-na was murdered by drug traffickers in 1985. The red ribbon became the symbol to reduce the demand for drugs. Texas War on Drugs is the state Red Ribbon sponsor and the National Federation of Parents sponsors the national campaign. Area businesses and residents are asked to display red ribbons this week in support of Red Ribbon Week activities. (Photo by Dery I Clark) Other activities this week include: • Wednesday — Wear Red Day — everyone is encouraged to wear red ribbons to show support for a drug-free community. • Thursday —Comal County Commissioners Court will read a procla mation recognizing Red Ribbon Week. • Friday — Exchange of red ribbons at high school football games and the culmination of Red Ribbon Week activities in local schools. -STEPHANIE DAVIS ;