New Braunfels Herald Zeitung (Newspaper) - September 10, 2005, New Braunfels, Texas
Page 2A — Herald-Zeitung — Saturday, September IO, 2005
i Brown dumped as IFEMA leader in
hurricane recovery ■■ IECT
WASHINGTON (AP) — The Bush H I
WASHINGTON (AP) — The Bush administration dumped PEMA Director Michael Brown as commander of Hurri-Icane Katrina relief efforts Friday, then : abruptly scrapped plans to give $2,000 ; debit caids to displaced storm victims as : it struggled to get a grip on the recovery operation.
* Buffeted by criticism, President Bush ; stirred memories of the 2001 tenor attacks as he hailed the “acts of great compassion and extraordinary bravery from America's first responders,’’ then as now.
Brown, who had come to personify a relief operation widely panned as bumbling, will be replaced by Coast Guard Vice Adm. Thad W. Allen. Allen had been in charge of relief, recovery and rescue efforts for New Orleans.
The decision to order Brown back to Washington from Louisiana — he remains as director of the Federal Emergency Management Agency — marked the administration’s latest attempt to assot leadership in the wake of the devastating storm and its aftermath, including the weakest public opinion polls of Bush’s time in office.
Still there was fresh evidence of raggedness in the effort when FEMA announced late in the day that it would discontinue a two-day-old program to issue debit cards worth up to $2,000 to displaced families. Evacuees relocated to Texas, many of whom began receiving cards on Friday, will continue getting them, officials said.
Hurricane victims at other locations will have to apply for expedited aid : through the agency’s traditional route— I filling out information on FEMAs Web ;site to receive direct bank deposits, FEMA spokeswoman Natalie Rule said.
I Brown introduced the program on Wednesday, calling it “a great way to ... •empower these hurricane survivors to ^really start rebuilding their lives.”
* At the White House, spokesman Scott -McClellan said the decision to reassign IBrown had been made by Homeland .'Security Secretary Michael Chertoffand 'that Bush supported it
The Cougar Band color guard watches the game.
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From staff, wire reports
LEGISLATURE'S ACTIONS ON OPEN GOVERNMENT DISCSSED AT FOI MEETING -
Requiring open government training for elected officials and more public scrutiny of privately invested state money were key freedom of information victories in this year’s Legislature, experts said Friday.
Attorney General Greg Abbott, who advocated for the open government training, said his agency is busy preparing instructional materials for the seminars that start in January. Abbott gave a preview of a training video during the state meeting of the Freedom of Information Foundation of Texas.
The foundation also presented Abbott with its James Madison Award, given for commitment to open government and the First Amendment.
“I am personally proud to fight for the cause of open government in the state of Texas,”
Legislation by Sen. Jeff Wentworth, R-San Antonio, requires elected or appointed public officials of a governmental body to take a periodic open government course.
Passage of that bill was a major open government victory of the 140-day regular legislative session, said Michael Schneider, director of programs for the Texas Association of Broadcasters.
The Texas Municipal League, which represents cities, initially worried the measure would mean more travel and lodging
expenses forsmall-town officials who’d have to attend training sessions, said Frank Sturzl, the league’s executive director.
“It turned out to be a tine bill, and one that we are anxious to help implement,” he said. “There really is not a downside for city officials at all.”
Another notable open government bill was a measure by Sen. Robert Duncan, R-Lubbock, to provide more public access to information about public money invested in private equity funds, said panelists at the meeting.
University system investments and state pension funds are among those the bill targeted.
Advocates for requiring recorded votes in the Texas Legislature gave an update on their efforts. Attempts to require individual recorded votes through state law or constitutional amendment failed, although the House and Senate made rules changes in January that legislative leaders said resulted in more recorded votes.
SAN JOSE, Calif.
COUPLE PLEADS GUILTY TO CHARGES IN WENDY'S FINGER CASE - A Nevada couple pleaded guilty Friday to all charges related to planting a human finger in a bowl of Wendy’s chili in a scheme to extort money from the fast food restaurant chain.
Anna Ayala, 39, and Jaime Pla-cencia, 43, pleaded guilty to conspiring to file a false claim and attempted grand theft in a scheme that the Dublin, Ohio-based Wendy’s International Inc. claimed cost it $2.5 million in lost
sales because of bad publicity.
“Thankfully, law enforcement thwarted their successful efforts at theft,” said Deputy District Attorney David Boyd.
Ayala’s attorney, Rick Ehler, said she was truly remorseful.
“There are a lot of people that work for Wendy’s that were harmed, she always felt a lot of remorse about that,” he said.
Wendy’s President and Chief Executive Officer Tom Mueller said he hoped the guilty pleas would “send a strong message and serve as a deterrent to others who may contemplate a fraudulent crime against the restaurant industry.”
Ayala claimed to have found the fingertip March 22 while eating chili with her family at a Wendy’s in San Jose. Authorities said they believed it was a hoax, but the story of the tasteless finger food quickly circled the globe and became fodder for late-night comedy.
A search for the finger’s owner eventually led to one of Placen-cia’s co-workers, who lost it in an industrial accident in Las Vegas, police said.
Ayala was arrested in April in her suburban Las Vegas home and accused of trying to shake down Wendy’s by Filing a claim against the restaurant chain.
FRENCH PRESIDENT LEAVES HOSPITAL, REDUCES ACTIVITY — President Jacques Chirac emerged from hospital Friday, declaring himself in fine shape but walking with a slight hesitation and saying nothing about the illness that kept him
there a week.
The 72-year-old leader said doctors advised him to limit his activities for another week and he canceled plans to attend next week’s U.N. summit in New York. France instead will send Prime Minister Dominique de Villepin, the former foreign minister whose February 2003 speech against the invasion of Iraq put him in the world spotlight.
Chirac, a mainstay on the French political scene for more than four decades, was hospitalized Sept. 2 after suffering a “small vascular accident” that impaired vision in one eye, medical officials said without ever fully elaborating.
The illness followed a difficult year politically for Chirac, whose popularity has dropped to record lows and who suffered the humiliation of a French rejection in a May 29 referendum of a proposed constitution for Europe.
Aside from die canceled trip to New York, it was not immediately clear to what extent Chirac’s schedule might otherwise be trimmed.
On leaving Val de Grace military hospital, Chirac told reporters he was advised to limit his activities for the next week.
The hospital, however, provided a different version of its advice, saying it had recommended as much rest as possible in the next two weeks and that Chirac avoid air travel for six weeks. Otherwise, Chirac’s health was “very satisfying,” a statement said.
Chirac walked unassisted out of the hospital, chatting with first lady Bernadette Chirac and doctors, whose work he praised. The president’s aides said his vision was still slightly troubled but that the condition had improved this week.
Matters of Public Record
Law enforcement officers in New Braunfels and Comal County arrested the following Sept. 8-9, 2005:
Samuel Nickolas Adams, 41, New Braunfels, theft by check between $20 and $500.
Jay William Goodfriend, 56, New Braunfels, failure to identify to a peace officer.
Janice Lanell Green, 44,
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Granbury, theft by check between $20 and $500; failure to notify of change of address; improper motor vehicle inspection; failure to appear/failure to change address; fraudulent use of identifying information; theft. Cody Ryan Jurgensen, 17,
Spring Branch, possession of less than 2 ounces of marijuana.
Ricardo Maldonado, 27, New Braunfels, theft by check between $20 and $500.
Gerald James Massey, 44, Converse, driving while license invalid. Angela Colene Oaks, 33, Spring Branch, failure to appear/theft by check between $20 and $500. Ramon Soto Jr., 20, New Braunfels, failure to appear/
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possession of less than 2 ounces of marijuana; speeding — 61 mph in a 45 mph zone; no insurance (2 charges). Amanda Marie Villarreal, 20, New Braunfels, theft between $50 and $500.
Gloria Jean Villarreal, 38, New Braunfels, theft by check between $20 and $500.
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