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New Braunfels Herald Zeitung (Newspaper) - September 8, 1999, New Braunfels, Texas mm con ?0332 n°°f„oPUBLlr^INe __    JI Ii    SO WES1 ^nd£LL drNew («sateJFELs PASO TX 79903Herald-Zeitung Vol. 148, No. 209 18 pages in 2 sections September 8, 1999 Wednesday Serving Comal County since 1852 50 centsCisneros pleads guilty to single misdemeanor count WASHINGTON (AP) — Former Housing Secretary Henry Cisneros pleaded guilty Tuesday to a misdemeanor count of lying to the FBI, ending a four-year, $9 million-plus independent counsel investigation that dimmed the luster of a onetime Democratic Party rising star. The former Clinton Cabinet member must pay a $10,000 fine but will face no jail time or probation. The court accepted his plea agreement just as his trial on 18 felony counts of conspiracy, obstruction of justice and lying to the FBI was set to begin. In exchange, Cisneros admitted in court that he falsely told the FBI, while under corisidera-tion for the Cabinet post, that he had never paid his ex-mistress more than $2,500 monthly. He gave Linda Jones more than $250,000 between 1989 and 1994, prosecutors said. “I accept responsibility for the conduct as CISNEROS outlined,” Cisneros told U.S. District Judge Stanley Spoikin, his lawyer at his side. His wife, Mary Alice, was not in the courtroom. Cisneros, a former San Antonio mayor who is now president of the Spanish-lan-guage television network Univision in Los Angeles, ducked out of the courthouse without talking to reporters. But in a prepared statement, he said: “I regret my lack of candor... I hope that all who follow me in public service learn the lesson that truth and candor are important in the process of selecting our leaders.” In accepting the plea agreement, which Sporkin said he initially thought was too lenient, the judge said: “I know there will be some second-guessing about this plea. There will be some who will say that the sanction is not tough enough and others who will say here is more evidence of the Independent Counsel Act as not serving the public interest.” But, he added, “We cannot permit an individual to lie his way into high public office... The work of the independent coun sel in this case reaffirms the importance of telling the truth.” Independent Counsel David Barrett told reporters: “We are just glad to have this over and done with.” Barrett declined further comment. But in a prepared statement, he implicitly defended his investigation, whose biggest success came when Ms. Jones was sentenced to 3 1/2 years in prison after herself running afoul of Barrett’s investigation. In July, See CISNEROS/4A Y2K bug getting an early byte? By Erin MAGRUDER Staff Writer The millennium bug could be paying an early visit to Comal County. Y2K planners are concerned that some computers might read Thursday’s date, Sept. 9, 1999, as “9999” — a common stop program or shut down command. Although banks, utilities and businesses around the world will be looking for the slightest hint of Y2K-relat-ed glitches, few expect to see any major disruptions, Y2K News Magazine reported. In New Braunfels, banks I lave been preparing for the possibility of Y2K problems for more than a year, said Ron Strong, senior vice president of First State Bank, 401 Main Plaza. “Every bank and every savings and loan association in the United States has been required by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation to test 9/9/99 as well as 13 other dates for Y2K problems,” Strong said. “The deadline to check all of the dates was June 30, 1999. lf there were any problems, they should have been fixed by now.” Electrical utility companies also are ready if the bug decides to strike early. New Braunfels Utilities spokeswoman Gretchen Reuwer said the utility expected a normal day of operations. “While electrical service cannot be guaranteed, we are not anticipating any interruption of serv ice to our customers tomorrow,” Reuwer said. “We have been working on the Y2K. issue since 1997 and feel very comfortable with our efforts and those of our wholesale supplier, (Lower Colorado River Authority).” For those still trying to figure out what Y2K means for the much-anticipated Jan. 1,2000, deadline, it boils down to this: • Computers are required to be date-sensitive. Most computers that have not been altered or reprogrammed for Y2K rely on a year field that only has a two-digit code. This means programs would only recognize the last two digits of a year, possibly interpreting the year 2(KX). or “OO,' as the year 1900. • Most computers that are Y2K.-compliant are programmed for a four-digit date code to avoid the feared New Year’s Day disruptions. Dwyer Stringer, Y2K project coordinator for Comal County, said residents would experience a few minor glitches Thursday in a worst-case scenario, but there was nothing to be too concerned about. “From everything I have been reading, most of the problems have been caught,” Stringer said. “Y2K has been hitting us in bits and pieces for several y ears now The best thing people can do is to plan ahead and not wait until the last minute.” NBISD bond package includes classroom By Heather Todd Staff Writer New libraries, more parking and Internet services in every classroom are among projects proposed in a $75 million bond package to improve the learning environment for students and teachers. New Braunfels Independent School District patrons will decide Oct. 2 whether to go forward with the proposed $75 million plan to renovate and expand NBISD campuses. Early voting begins Sept. 15 at the Education Center, 430 West Mill St., and Lone Star Primary, 2343 West San Antonio St. Early voting runs until Sept. 28. Voting hours at the Education Center are 8 a m. to 5 p.m. and 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. at Lone Star Primary on Sept. 15 only. More than $35 million of the proposed bond money would be spent to improve the day-to-day educational environment for all students and teachers. Bond money would be used to upgrade instructional services, improve student safety and provide bigger and better facilities. New Braunfels Middle School principal Demetria Cummins said campus improvements would have an impact on student achievement. “I do believe that any improvements can add pnde to the school. And instilling a sense of pride in students for their school does have an impact on students’ achievement,” she said. More than $12 million in the $75 million plan would be used to enhance technology. Jennifer Faulkner, director of instructional technology, said bond money could fund a fiber optic backbone between schools, a local area network for all campuses and Internet capabilities for all students. “The whole goal is to provide voice, video and data to every classroom,” she said. Students would have access to network serv ices and software, and teachers would liave access to e-mail for better communication. See UPGRADES/4AupgradesPart of a Series The Herald-Zeitung takes a look this week at the Oct. 2 bond issue for New Braunfels Independent School District Coming up are: • THURSDAY — Taking care of maintenance, kitchen facilities • FRIDAY — How will the bond issue affect your taxes Inside ............. ] Abby.......................... ......7A Classifieds................ 4-8B Comics...................... ......2B Crossword............. ......7A Forum...................... .....6A Local/Metro.............. ......4A Movies ......7A Obituaries........ 3A Sports................. 8-10A Today........................ ......2A Television..................... 2B ? I I com Key Code 76 Classes Available Several free Graduate Equivalency Diploma and English as a Second Language classes are available in Comal County. Classes are continuous and students can join at any time. • NBISD Learning Center, 902 West San Antonio St., 620-6200. GED and ESL I: 7 to 9 p.m. Tuesday and Thursday • Comal Leadership Institute, 1419 North Business 35, 629-1427. GED classes: 7 to 9 p.m. Monday and Wednesday • Community Service Center, 132 Cadded Lane, 629-2731. GED classes: 9 a.m. to noon Monday through Thursday, ESL ll: 7 to 9 p.m. Monday and Wednesday • Bulverde Public Library, 30450 Cougar Bend, (830) 438-3666. GED classes: 6 to 8 p.m. Tuesday, ESL classes: 6 to 8 p.m. Wednesday • Mountain Valley Elementary School, 1165 Sattler Road, (830) 899-2867. ESL classes: 6:30 to 9 p.m. Monday Celebrating literacy International Literacy Day stresses importance of reading By Heather Todd Staff Writer New Braunfels resident Melisa Diaz, 26, didn’t like to read when she was in high school. Now, thanks to an adult literacy program, Diaz not only enjoys reading, but also teaches her 7-year-old daughter, Kirsten, the importance of getting an education. Diaz is one of many local residents who have successfully completed a literacy program. Eight years ago, Diaz dropped out of high school at the beginning of her senior year to become a mother. Later that year, she suffered a debilitating stroke that left her paralyzed. Despite the challenges of being a single mother bound to a wheelchair, Diaz decided her education was too important — both for herself and her daughter — to simply give up. “For awhile, there were a lot of things I had to deal with m my life, then I realized that I had to do this, not just for myself, but for my daughter. I thought if she saw me studying and reading, then she would do the same. I wanted to be a role model for my own child,” she said. Two years ago, Diaz, who read at an 11 th-grade level, looked into the Adult Literacy of Comal County program. Since she did not have transportation to the General Equivalency Diploma classes, Diaz began meeting with a volunteer tutor from the literacy program once a week. Diaz now has her GED and is looking into the possibility of taking college courses on the Internet. Today is International Literacy Day, and educators across the country are urging adults who either have problems reading or knows someone who struggles with reading to seek help. Literacy is about more than being able to read a book or a See LITERACY/3A WAI U/Herald-Zertung Top, Mellsa Diaz (left) studies with Adult Literacy of Comal County tutor Gloria Morales, who helped Diaz earn her Graduate Equivalency Diploma two years ago. Above, OakRun School sixth-grader Jake Elder responds to a question during a recent Newspapers in Education lesson. For more on the Herald-Zeltung’s NIE program, see page 6A. ;