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New Braunfels Herald Zeitung (Newspaper) - October 29, 2000, New Braunfels, Texas Jim Wolverton, two-term Republican incumbent Precinct 3 commissioner in Guadalupe County, is locked in a dogfight with challenger Rick Svatora, Democrat, in the Nov. 7 election. This is happening in a county where, in the years past, simply winning the Republican Party primary has been tantamount to winning reelection. But this is Guadalupe County, and this year all bets are off in the wake of a rough-and-tumble primary season and a yearlong controversy over last year’s county budget and a pay raise commissioners voted for themselves and other officials. Guadalupe County Attorney “Maximum” Bob Covington was defeated in the spring Republican primary by a former staffer in his bid for reelection. Covington had first advised the commissioners court that the raises were legal, an interpretation questioned in a July 2000 ruling by Attorney General John Comyn. Comyn believed commissioners did not comply with the Texas Local Government Code requiring IO days notice before a public hearing on the raises, which were adopted with the 2000 Guadalupe County budget. When Cornyn wrote his opinion, Wolverton offered to pay his raise back with interest. A few weeks later, a District Court judge agreed with Comyn. Covington blamed the controversy over the pay raise for his primary defeat. Wolverton might be vulnerable on the same issue. Wolverton, who turned a $20,000 investment in founding F&W Electric into a business he sold for $1.8 years later, pointed out he is finan-c i a I I y secure — he does not need gVATORA t h e salary. “I know how to make money,” he said. “I know how to manage a project and get the most for taxpayers’ money.” He voted for the pay raises because the growing county needs to attract the most qualified employees it can as well as the most qualified elected WOLVERTON officials, Wolverton said. “Look at commissioners court,” Wolverton said in a forum a few nights ago. “You’ve got one commissioner who’s a plumber. He comes in, votes, and leaves. You've got one who's a rancher. He comes in, votes, and leaves. I'm there for you full time, whatever it takes. If you need a ride to Austin to straighten something out, I’ll bring you,” he said. “We’ve got department heads hiring drug addicts in Guadalupe County. We have to make these positions more attractive so we can get better people to fill them. lf I’m a casualty of this pay raise, so be it.” Guadalupe County Pct. 3 includes the western edge of the county along the Interstate 35 corridor from Schertz to San Marcos, and includes the unincorporated area outside New Braun- See ELECTION/5AHpp A T n_yRITT TATP I IP;iv/\ I jiJ-JjVj I I UlMj Vol. 149, No. 264    46    pages    in    4    sections    October    29,    2000 Sunday Serving Comal County since 1852 $1.00 inside I Two presumed drowned ► Ghosts & spirits Walking through the doors of Prince Solms Inn is like walking through a door in the fabric of time...a perfect home to the Victorian bride.../ 1C ► Florida winner By Ron Maloney Staff Writer A little before 6 p.m. Saturday, a 13-year-old Houston area girl stood ankle deep in muddy Guadalupe River water at Camp Huaco Springs, alternately sobbing and calling out over the river for her sister and her brother-in-law. The Houston couple, whose identities had not been released Saturday night, disappeared about 5:20 p.m. and are presumed drowned. A search for their bodies will resume at 9:30 a.m. today. Sheriffs’ officials did not say Saturday night what the couple was doing in the water. About 40 minutes after they disappeared, Sheriffs’ Sgt. Jimmy Limmer, his left arm across the teen-ager’s shoulders, spoke quietly with her, trying to comfort her if he could and trying to gath er the information he and rescue divers needed to begin a search. She stared out over the water to the place where she had last seen her sister, 26, and brother-in-law, 24, alive. Behind her, Canyon Lake Fire/EMS divers were suiting up, but she could not see them. They were preparing to sweep the deep, cold cloudy pool where the man and then the woman See RIVER/5A K. JESSIE SLATEN/Herald-Zeitung A family member of the two presumed drowning victims is comforted while waiting on the shore of the Guadalupe River. Devil’s Backbone Author chronicles haunting tales of region’s history Wolverton fights to retain position in Guadalupe Co. Nick Seidel, a Clear Springs resident and 4th generation Seidel from New Braunfels, captured first place in Fla./1B ► Vacation Wimer The final week’s winner of the Herald-Zeitung’s October Family Vacation Giveaway is Brenda Mills. The winners gets four-day/three-night vacation packages, which include deluxe accommodations for two adults — children free — a round of golf and other amenities at a variety of vacation destinations. Thunderstorms sweep W. Texas By The Associated Press Thunderstorms marching east from the Panhandle to Central Texas brought 70 mph wind gusts that toppled trees' and telephone poles, injuring one woman and killing a dog. Strong winds roaring across Lamesa in Dawson County ripped 8-inch limbs from trees and knocked over telephone polls across the southwestern portions of the city, said Chris Smallcomb, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Midland. Smallcomb said a dog was killed Mien a tree fell on it, and a woman injured herself while jumping clear of scattered glass sprayed when winds forced open the-door of her home. Winds of 60 mph whipping through Cone in Crosby County ripped the roof off of the Primitive Baptist Association building. Index Abby.............................................2C ^Business................................9-10A Classified................................1-12D Stammtisch..................................3C Forum...........................................6A Local/Metro...................................4A Obituaries.................................3A Sports....................................1-4B Today............................................2A Television...........................TV    Week Key cod* 77 Halloween night trick-or-treat safety No. I priori From Staff Reports In the old days, the scariest thing about Halloween was the pranks people played: gentle fun like tipping over outhouses or putting carriages up on porches. But this isn’t the old days, and the things we used to worry about like having to strip toilet paper out of trees or cleaning pumpkin pulp off the walkway don’t worry us anymore. We’ve all seen enough witches and Draculas that they don’t turn our heads much, anymore. Halloween is a bigger deal than it ever was, though, from a safety standpoint, and local law enforcement officials want to ensure your children’s safety during one of their favorite holidays. New Braunfels police Sgt. David Wilson said his department runs its full patrol complement Halloween night. “The main thing is we want your kids to have a safe Halloween,” Wilson said. The veteran police officer offered advice and a number of tips for trick or treaters, their parents, and the people they visit Halloween night: • Parents or older siblings should accompany younger children in groups of four or five. • Go trick-or-treating in See SAFETY/5A K. JESSIE SLATEN/Herald-Zeitung Local children enjoy Halloween, but it is up to their parents to ensure they plan safe activities. CHRIS PACE/Herald-Zeitung Bert Wall (above) writes about the ghosts of the Devil’s Backbone in his office at home. He will appear at the Super S Grocery in Sattler to sign copies of his most recent book. He lives on the Devil’s Backbone, and has encountered ghosts. Any place (below) in the area might be haunted. By Jennifer Rodriguez Staff Writer On a recent stormy night, a man retreated to his bedroom after allegedly beating his wife. The door slammed shut, and although he was alone, his family reportedly heard screaming and a tremendous ruckus. Later, a trail of blood led from the bedroom and disappeared outside the house. The abuser never returned, and believers in the supernatural were convinced an old Indian spirit nicknamed Drago had intervened to purge his territory of evil. “He’s real protective of the Backbone. He’s really protective of good people, but he’ll run a bad guy out, quick,” writer Bert M. Wall said. Wall wrote “Devil’s Backbone: Ghost Stories from the Texas Hill Country.” He will sign autographs from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. today and Tuesday at the Super S grocery store in Sattler. The history and political science major also authored “Ghostly Chills: Devil’s Backbone,” and has a third book coming out in May. “I’ve been gathering these stories since I was a kid,” Wall said. “Our ghosts are interesting.” The fifth-generation Texan has bumped into several of the spirits said to haunt Devil’s Backbone, including Drago, a Spanish monk and lady dressed in white. The tree-dotted landscape of Devil’s Backbone is the source of many ghost sightings and supernatural events that pepper Wall’s See Tuesday’s edition for another haunting tale. See BACKBONE/5 A By Ron Maloney    million Staff Writer    nine ;