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View Sample Pages : New Braunfels Herald Zeitung, September 07, 2004

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New Braunfels Herald Zeitung (Newspaper) - September 7, 2004, New Braunfels, Texas ft** NL— *01 1000571 05/16/05 SOUTHWEST HICRQPUBLISHERS 2627 I VANDELL DR EL PASO TX IVW f I < i 11S t i m 111«I!) < 111»I! 11«I <) i TUESDAY, SEPTEMBER 7,2004 ^ald-Zeitung GOLF After being ranked number one for the past five years, Tiger Woods loses the top spot to Vijay Singh. Page 5A FORUM GUEST COLUMN Duane Neel writes about how following AACOG's rules won't make a difference in air quality. Page 4A Serving New Braunfels and Comal County since 1852. Vol. 153, No. 256 12 pages, 2 sections CLICK 500 56825 000011 Mostly sunny High Low 87 64 1 ; Details 1B DEAR ABBY 3B CLASSIFIEDS 5-6B COMICS 2B CROSSWORD 2B FORUM 4A OBITUARIES 3B SPORTS 5A TV GRIDS 3BMan, 20, drowns in Guadalupe River By Bon Maloney Staff Writer A 20-year-old Houston man became the summer's fifth recreation-related drowning victim in Comal County Sunday — and the second in the Guadalupe River. Precinct 4 Justice of the Peace Jennifer Saunders pronounced Prapeep Johnson of Houston dead at the scene of the incident Sunday afternoon. Canyon Lake Fire/EMS Capt. Danny Ray said Johnson was part of a group who were tubing the river just before 2 p.m. “Three individuals who were friends in their early 20s were tubing when they stopped to swing on a rope that’s just a little bit above the fourth crossing,” Ray said. “They were swinging OK, but this guy apparendy was walking back toward shore afterward and stepped off a ledge. He slipped under the water and that was it.” Members of the group searched IO to 15 minutes before running up to a nearby home to call for help, Ray said. With that much time under water, firefighters who arrived at the scene could not have recovered the man in time to resuscitate him, Ray said. They called for members of the South Hays Fire Department’s San Marcos Area Recovery Team and initiated a search of their own, starting See DROWNING, Page 3A The last hurrah of summer Rain doesn t wash out Labor Day weekend By Ron Maloney Staff Writer The labor Day holiday weekend was expected to be far from the summer's busiest, but it was far from a washout, even with Monday’s rainy weather. Outfitters and public safety officials reported about what they’d expected to see — fair to middling crowds, moderated by bouts of rain. Saturday’s weekend fun was interrupted by a couple of cloudbursts, as was Monday’s. Historically, though, Monday is often a travel day for the summer’s last holiday weekend. As on most three-day holiday weekends, Sunday was busiest. Paul Rich said Monday he’d seen less people than he’d anticipated. “It was an OK weekend. We had perfect conditions, and the weather was good until today,” Rich said. “I know everyone said they’d had a good time. There didn’t seem to be as many people, but it kind of overwhelmed me. Everyone I asked said, ‘It was great!’ If they had a great time, it might help next year or even next weekend. We already have a festival going on, up to 300 people coming tubing next weekend.” At Canyon Lake, fire Capt. Danny Ray reported most calls for EMS service were relatively mild except for a drowning near the fourth crossing. “We’ve been fairly busy,” Ray said. "Most of it has been, ‘I hurt my head,’ ‘I hurt my elbow,’ ‘I hurt my back,’ that sort of stuff.” In New Braunfels Sunday afternoon, police and firefighters mounted a rescue effort at about 5 p.m. for a missing 12-year-old boy. “He got lost,” said Frank Gonzales, New Braunfels Fire Department battalion chief. “He was tubing with a group and went past the last exit on die Comal.” Mindful of an incident earlier in the summer when a I louston family had to be rescued from the falls at the old textile mill, police and firefighters prepared a similar effort just upstream from Faust Street Bridge. Before a boat was launched, Gonzales said, fire Capt. Ray I lacker went upriver and found the group — calling them to shore and warning them about the falls. "Ray asked them if they knew there was a dam here,” Gonzales said. See HOLIDAY, Page 3A Tax rate to be set for 2005 budget By Ron Maloney Staff Writer DAVID INGRAM/ Herald-Zeitung Above, tubers enjoy a speedy ride through a chute on a less than crowded Comal River Saturday afternoon, (left) tubers take a ride through the tube chute on the Comal River over the long Labor Day weekend. Despite rainy conditions over the weekend, visitors came to New Braunfels to enjoy the summer's last holiday weekend. Comal County Commissioners Thursday will take their final action on the 2005 budget — setting the tax rate that will fund it. The county will also decide what path to take as it considers major repairs needed at the Coma! County courthouse. Commissioners’ Court meets at 8:15 a.m. in the courtroom at 199 Main Plaza. Comal County's ad valorem property tax rate will remain unchanged from the current rate of 33.37 cents per $ IOO of assessed value. Property taxes will fund a general fund budget of approximately $25.5 million — an ; increase of about I $780,000 over the j 2004 budget. The increases• come in creating a • second County I Court-at-Law, pick I up the salaries of I sheriff’s deputies j hired under a fed- I eral grant and a 2- j percent cost-of-liv- j ing raise for I employees. The tax I rate will remain I unchanged! because the differ- I ence will be made I up of projected j increases in the I county’s taxable ; value. County officials j warily eyeing a i November ballot j on a proposed tax j freeze for seniors j and disabled prop- : erty owners and further expected unfunded state mandates including a possible tax increase ceiling are concerned the county’s days of flat-funding budgets could be over. Except for 2003, when commissioners voted a one-cent increase to pick up the costs of recovery from the 2002 flood, Comal County has not had a tax rate increase during Danny Scheel’s administration as county judge. Scheel offered scam hope during 2005 GENERAL FUND BUDGET The 2005 General Fund budget comes in at $25.5 million. It will be funded by an ad valorem tax rate of 33.37 cents per $100 of assessed value — which is unchanged from 2004, Where it goes: ■ Law Enforcement: 52 percent; $13.2 million ■ Judicial- 19 per cent; $4.8 million ■ General and administration: 13 percent; $3.3 million. ■ Finance: 7 percent; $1.8 mil lion ■ Social/Health: 6 percent $1.3 million ■ Executive: 3 percent $800,000 (Note:    Numbers rounded up or down to nearest $100,000) See BUDGET Page 3ACold, wet weather causes few traffic accidents, problems By Ron Maloney Staff Writer A cold front rolled through Monday, bringing with it rain, wet roads and a smattering of local traffic accidents, but few major problems. National Weather Service Meteorologist Dave Swallow said Monday's wet weather was caused by a cold front going across the region. Rainfall was expected to continue intermittently into tile evening to be replaced today by partly cloudy skies. New Braunfels Fire Department Battalion Chief Steve Mabe reported numerous minor traffic accidents around New Braunfels and on Interstate 35. Around 3 p.m., Interstate 35 was turned into a parking lot for a short time by a multi-vehicle chain-reac-tion accident—with no injuries. “We had quite a big one on Interstate 35 with about IO vehicles MORE RAIN ON THE WAY? ■ What's the weather going to be for the next few days? Check the local forecast on Page 1B. involved a little bit ago that brought traffic to a complete stop,” Mabe said “But there was minor damage and no injuries.” Early in the afternoon, one person was taken from a southbound accident to Brooke Army Medical Center with injuries that weren’t believed to be life-threatening. “Except for that one on Interstate 35 South, we had no transports out of any of them. They were all minor accidents, all weather related,” Mabe said. In Spring Branch, firefighter Nathan Oxhandler reported no weather-related accidents or problems. See WEATHER, Page 3A COMING FRIDAY Tour of Faith Another chandi is profiled in oar weekly scries OO churches in Como! County. UM ;