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Hays Free Press
Kyle, Texas
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February 23, 2011     Hays Free Press
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February 23, 2011
 

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Page 2A NEWS Hays Free Press February 23, 2011 + + BY SEAN KIMMONS people began to fight around 3 a.m. injuries were life threatening, police say. An official with the bus company said sean@haysfreepress.com when a bus from Lone Star Party Buses Detectives are still interviewing wit- that the bus was heading back to San stopped at the Conoco gas station at nesses to see if any charges will be fried. Marcos and pulled over because some of exit 217 on Interstate 35. One of the injured persons is believed to the riders had to use the restroom. The Afestivebustripwithyoungpartygoers One suspect pulled out a knife and be the assailant who stabbed the other official thinks that another group at the went sour as three people were stabbed stabbed partygoers, one of them mul- two, Kyle Police Capt. Pedro Hemandez gas station, not part of the bus trip, inili- in an altercation after the bus made a rest tiple times. All three injured persons were said Tuesday. ated the fight. stop at a Kyle gas station early Sunday. transported to Bmckentidge Hospital. All "The case is still active since there were The company will no longer make pit Kyle police say that a large group of victims were in their 20s and none of the so many people involved," he said. stops during their trips, the official said. Sewage Solutions: Hillside Terrace could switch to city utility Continued from pg. 1A The Plum Creek Watershed Partner- ship is helping the city of Buda and Hays County pursue a state grant that would pay for the sewer-line instaila- tion to each of the homes and tie in to a city of Buda wastewater lift station across Hillside Terrace Drive from the subdivision. This week, a contractor for the part- nership is surveying residents to en- sure the neighborhood qualifies for the funding from the TexasWater Develop- ment Board, a project that had been advocated by former Commissioner ]eft Barton and now is being pursued by his successor, Pct. 2 Commissioner Mark ]ones. The Hays County Commis- sioners Court on Tuesday approved ex- pending money from the LCRA Utility fund to pay for the survey. "Depending on household income levels for the area, we could potentially get 70 to 100 percent loan forgiveness for this project to construct the infra- structure," said Nikld Dictson, a part- nership coordinator and specialist with The Hays Free Press (ISSN 1087-9323) published weekly by Barton Publications, Inc., 122 N. Main St., Buda, TX 78610. Periodicals postage paid at Buda, TX 78610 and additional mailing offices. POSTMASTER: Send ad- dress changes to Barton Publications, Inc., RO. Box 339, Buda, TX 78610. ISSN#1087-9323 NEWS TIPS If you think ifs news, we probably do tool Newsroom phone: 512-268-7862 E-mail: news@haysfree- press.com Mail: P.O. Box 339 Buda, Texas 78610 CORRECTIONS Any erroneous reflection upon the character, standing or reputation of any person, firm or corporation which may appear in the pages of the Hays Free Press will be corrected upon being brought to the attention of the publisher. DEADLINES The deadline for display ad- vertising and any contributed news copy in the Hays Free Press is 5 p.m. Friday the week prior to publication. The deadline for Letters to the Editor and classified word advertising in the Hays Free Press is noon Monday the week of publication, though we encourage readers and advertisers to observe the Friday deadline. LETTERS GUIDELINES We welcome locally written letters to the editor on timely topics of community interest. We ask that you keep them to about 350 words in length and that you not indulge in personal attacks on private individuals. Letters may be edited for brevity and clarity. All letters should be signed by the author and include a daytime phone number where the author can be contacted for verification. Letter writ- ers are limited to one letter per month. Letters can be emailed to csb@haysfree- press.corn HISTORY Founded April 10, 1903 by Thomas Fletcher Harwell as The Kyle News, with offices on the corner of Burleson and Miller Streets in the town's oldest remaining building. It merged into The Hays County Citizen in 1956. The paper consolidated with The Free Press in October, 1978. During its more than lg0-year history the newspa- per has maintained offices at more than a dozen locations in Kyle and Buda. "Depending on household income levels for the area, we couldpotentially get 70 to l OO p cent loan forgiveness for tbisproject to construct the infrastructure." -Nikkl Dictson, partnership coordinator with Texas AgdLife Extension Service the Texas AgriLff" e Extension Service. The stream also has excess nutrients Plum Creek rises in Hays County like phosphorous and nitrogen that north ofKyle and flows 52 miles through can present a problem to aquatic life. Lockhart, before converging with the Those nutrients can come from fertil- San Marcos River south of Luling. To izers used in agriculture and on urban the west it's a small and intermittent lawns, livestock and wildlife, or could waterway, but it gathers strength as it also result from wastewater discharge flows downstream. . upstream. The state considers Plum Creek to be Three years ago this month, the Plum an impaired waterbody because it has Creek Watershed Partnership released too much harmful bacteria. In the Kyle a watershed protection plan to reduce area and throughout the watershed, the bacteria and nutrient pollutants. bacteria enter the creek through mu- The plan's measures range from en- nicipal wastewater discharge, failing couraging homeowners to clean up septic systems, pet waste left on lawns their pet waste, to educating farmers and in parks, and run-off from imper- on safer agricultural practices, to help- vious cover, mg cities better treat wastewater be- fore releasing it into waterways such as Plum Creek, to managing wildlife such as feral hogs and waterfowl. Plum Creeks was the first watershed protection plan in Texas to be accepted by the Environmental Protection Agen- cy. The wastewater spill, Oct. 31 through Nov. 1, dumped roughly one million gallons of untreated and undertreated wastewater into an unnamed tributary of Plum Creek when a pump in the in- take area at the wastewater treatment plant failed to engage, causing a back- up of sewage. When the problem was discovered, workers turned on boost- er pumps which sent the backed up wastewater into the plant and caused effluent to spill out the other end into the creek. The spill is blamed for the' death of nearly 3,000 fish and impacted five to six miles of creek downstream from the spill, south of Uhland. The Texas Com- mission on Environmental Quality lev- ied the fine on Feb. 14. Hays ClSD CutbaCks: Could eliminate 100 Jobs Continued from pg. 1A "We've got a multi-million dollar problem created by a flawed funding system in Texas and a really deep recession," Superintendent ]eremy Lyon told the crowd of teachers and community members gathered at Monday night's school board meeting. With 84 percent of Hays CISD's $120 million annual op- erating budget consumed by employee salaries and benefits, the district had no choice but to mm to layoffs to fill the budget gap, Lyon said. "It's a tough time and it's most in need will no longer receive the support that allows them to excel academically. It's going to affect our academic performance and our dropout rate. These kids are going to be the ones that get to high school and don't finish, because they're so far behind their peers." The reduction in classroom teachers comes from aproposed increase in class size at all grade levels. Currently, Hays CISD maintains an 18-1 ratio at the three schools with the highest poverty rate and a 20-1 ratio at other elementary schools. Both a sad day for us," Lyon said. are well below the state cap of "These are reany good people 22-1, which could be expanded who are being told their posi- in this legislative session. Hays tions are being proposed to be is considering raising the cap to eliminated." 20-1 at the low soeio-economic The proposal cuts 31 class- schools and 22-1at the other el- room teachers, 56 out-of- ementaryschools. classroom teaching positions "Wehave beenextraordinari- includingl8instmctionaistrat- ly fortunate to be able to staff egists, 18 campus technologists these schools at 18-1 and 20-1," and 20 interventionists, as well Lyon said. "We feel like given as 15 custodians, two atten- the magnitude of this funding dance officers and the Central crisis, it is very reasonable to Office position of Director of take that funding formula and Librarians. increase it to the state law." The crowd gathered Monday Central admires" tmtors de- night mayhave been angry, but livered word of the cuts Thurs- ers approve their final budget, which might not happen until the end of the legislative ses- sion in May. Meanwhile, school administrators are constrained by laws stating that they must inform teachers of possible job reductions 45 days before the end of the spring semester. "We have to do all this and we have no idea how much money we're going to get," Lyon said. "It's building a budget based on looking into a crystal bail." Despite the sea of pink slips, Hays CISD's financial situation is considerably less precarious than that of neighboring school districts, which are accompa- nying large-scale layoffs with more drastic measures such as school closures. Lyon and the board trust- ees said they encouraged Hays employees and community members to contribute ideas for trimming the budget. The district will hold a workshop on March 7 seeking input. "Remember, I first got on the school board during the Span- lsh-American war," quipped long-time board member Ralph Pfluger. "I've never seen any- thing facing the school board of this magnitude. I think if we stay together, work together, give some ideas, not just criti- cism, that we can come out as well as we can." Postman helps extinguish grass fire BY SEAN KIMMONS sean@haysfreepress.com Kyle postman Doug Garcia was running his letter carrier route in the Sil- verado subdi- vision on Feb. 16 when he heard GARCIA a loud noise, followed by a boom that he thought was a transformer blowing. The problem sent sparks flying into dry grass, starting a fire between two homes near the corner of Star of Texas and Remington drives. Garcia said he ran toward the fire, told a neighbor to call the fire department and asked for a garden hose, which he hooked up to a nearby home to douse the flames. "I was in the right place at the right time," the 38-year-old Kyle resident said. " Garcia was joined by a volunteer fireman before a fire truck rolled up min- utes later. Garcia, who has worked as a letter carrier for about a year and a half and also coaches baseball at the Regents School of Austin, says that all he tried to do was contain the grass fire that was inches away from both homes. "I hope someone will do that for me if a fire started near my home," he said. Officials believe the fire was caused by electric re- lays being tripped due to an arching electrical line, deputy fire chief Rick Bea- man said. No damage was reported to the homes. the majority of their wrath by- passed the school board and aimed straight for Texas Gov- ernor Rick Perry and the state legislature, whose Republican leadership has vowed not to increase taxes or mid the state's reserve Rainy Day Fund to fill the budget shortfall. day morning to principals, who were charged with passing on the bad news to their staff. However, Lyon said he re- mains hopeful that nearly all of the employees whose jobs are on the block could move into other' vacancies. Administra- tors instituted a district-wide "Governor Perry said it's not a hiring freeze last Thursday, in- rainy day- I think he might be tended to bank vacancies for confusing the weather forecast with the financial forecast," said Steve Thompson of the Hays chapter of the Assodation of Texas Professional Educators. Like many in the crowd, Thompson said that Hays CISD employees and the school board should look for solutions together. "We're here to offer our help to the school board to cut costs in any way we can, while doing everything we can to preserve jobs for current employees," Thompson said. "We're educa- tors. We're creative, we're inno- vative. We can find budget cuts. We can find ways to solve this CriSiS." Lyon said he appreciated the "solution-based approach" to gr. appling with the budget cri- sis. "What we're choosing be- tween is bad choice A and bad choice B," Lyon said. "To mm that conversation inward divi- sively doesn't make bad choice A or bad choice B go away... We need to work together on this issue and look for solutions to- gether as Team Hays." However, a number of meet- ing attendees said that it would be a mistake to make cuts to the teaching support staff, such as instructional strategists and interventionists, instead calling for more cuts to central admin- istration. Kim Bishop, a reading inter- vention teacher at Tom Green Elementary, said laying off in- terventionists would hurt the students who were already the most at risk. "The students we see every day are the ones who could eas- ily fall through the cracks," Bish- op said, addingo "Our students the affected staff. "On any given year for the last five to eight years we have had between 100 and 200 teaching openings," Lyon said. "We are not going to advertise any posi- tions outside of the district until we have explored every opportu- nity for these displaced teachers to apply for open positions and get placed back in the district." The personnel cuts amount to savings of about $5.5 million for the district. Additional cuts of nearly $1.5 million would impacttmnsportation, technol- ogy, supplies and maintenance. For example, middle and high school students currently walk one-quarter to one-half mile to their bus stops; the district an- ticipates it could save $100,000 by increasing their walk to as much as one and a half miles. Thursday's proposal reduces the total budget by about six percent, or $7 million. Howev- er, Hays CISD is anticipating a total shortfall that could hit 10 percent, leaving an additional $4.8 million gap that the dis- trict plans to fill by tapping its ending fund balance. District officials worry that the final damage from the legislature could theoretically reach as high as $24 million, necessitat- ing far deeper cuts. "What we're presenting to- hight is a best case scenario, and it also relies on tapping into the district's ending fund balance, which meaLus this is not a problem that will go away next year," Lyon said. The announcement comes as districts across the state try to guess how deeply Texas legis- lators will slash school funding. Budget-writers won't know the extent of the cuts until lawmak- Open a United Heritage IRA CD today 2 Year- 1.50% APY 3 Year - 2.00% APY 5 Year - 2.85% APY Transfer or rollover Minimum deposit No maximum No Up to $6,000 in contributions Credit Be Smart. Ba WWW.UHCU.( 800.531.2328 Membership is required and works in Travi! APY=Annual Perceofage Yield. CD=osdifir~te of D Limitocilime offer and is subject to chanlpl at any ~e. IP&s are subject to IRS rules for allowable coatzibatlens and witMrswols. 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