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Hays Free Press
Kyle, Texas
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June 5, 2013     Hays Free Press
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June 5, 2013
 

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Page 2A NEWS Hays Free Press June 5, 2013 + 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 address changes to Barton Publications, Inc., P.O. Box 339, Buda, TX 78610. ISSN#1087-9323 NEWS TIPS If you think it's news, we probably do tool Newsroom phone: 512-268-7862 E-mail: news@haysfreepress. 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 advertising 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. LETrERS 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 writers are limited to one letter per month. Letters can be emailed to csb@haysfreepress.com HISTORY Founded April 10, 1903, by Thomas Fletcher HanNell 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 lO0-year history the newspaper has maintained offices at more than a dozen locations in Kyle and Buda. BY KIM HILSENBECK kim@haysfreepress.com With an average response time of about four minutes, the Buda Fire Department has made great strides since its days of being an all-volunteer organization. But when nar- row roads crowded with parked cars cause delays of up to two or more minutes, some resi- dents of theWhispering Hollow neighborhood think it's time for some changes. At a special meeting last week at Elm Grove Elemen- tary, which is adjacent to the neighborhood, about a dozen residents, along with city staff, Buda City Council members and employees of the Buda Fire Department, discussed the is- sues and possible solutions. The problem, according to Buda council member George Haehn, who lives in Whisper- ing Hollow, is that emergency response vehicles, particularly fire trucks, find it tricky to navi- gate through neighborhoods with narrow streets and lots of cars parked on both sides. Road widths in Whisper- ing Hollow and several other Buda communities are 27 feet. Haehn said one reason for the narrow roads is the regulations from the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) that limit the amount of im- pervious cover, e.g., roads and sidewalks, in those neighbor- hoods, ostensibly to protect the aquifer beneath. Trends in city planning are also shifting back towards 1950s-style narrower roads, partially to decrease vehicle ac- cidents, which data shows are more likely on wider streets. Challenges for emergency vehicles also include turning corners when cars are parked too close to the intersection. Buda city ordinance says ve- hicles must park at least 30 feet away from an intersection. "We've had to back up and go around another way on a few calls," said Buda Fire Chief Clay Huckaby, explaining the difficulty of making turns into streets where cars are parked in the intersection. "That delay can add another two or more minutes to a call." He said those delays have not led to any tragedies or deaths - yet. But the difference between life and death, partic- ularly with medical conditions or accidents that cause a lack of oxygen to the brain, can come down to seconds. At the special meeting, fire- fighters demonstrated how a fire track turns a comer and the difficulty of doing so with PHOTO BY KIM HILSENBECK Making a turn on a narrow street, especially with cars paked in the intersection, makes it challenging for the Buda Fire Department. The city is exploring several options to adress the problem. "People fly through here. I think some people intentionally park on the street to slow them down." -Susie Ward, Whispering Hollow resident cars parked on both sides of the street and within 30 feet of an intersection. As of yet, Huckaby said his crews have not had to move any cars. The city council now wants to hear from the rest of the resi- dents in Buda neighborhoods affected by the problem, which also includes Garlic Creek and BradfieldViliage. Haehn said cpuncil instruct- ed Buda engineering consul- tant Graham More of LAN to develop and distribute a survey to residents in W~h, ispering Hol- low and otherlcommunities with a list of ideas. Solutions inclOde parking on only one side of the road, not parking on the road at all (with a few exceptions, including homes with more than four ve- hicles or when guests visit), en- forcing the existing ordinance to not park within 30 feet of an intersection (along with paint- ing those intersection curbs red) and widening the roads. Though not able to attend the special meeting, Whisper- ing Hollow residents Susie Ward and Carmen Sifuentes spoke with the Hays Free Press Ward and Sifuentes said they occasionally park in the street to allow their children to play in the driveway. "We have to block the drive- ways to keep the little ones safe," Sifuentes said. Urbanovsky also wants to see more stop signs and yield signs in the neighborhood. several days later. Initially, both "This would force people to women thought wider streets slow down," she said. would be a good solution- they When the development first said the roads in their commu- opened roughly eight years ago, nity are very narrow and tricky it had only one main thorough- to navigate. When they learned fare. Today, a few new commec- the estimated cost, $18 million tor streets exist, yet Ward said according to Haehn- and that's the traffic problems persist. just for their neighborhood - "It's really bad on garbage that option looked less viable, collection day," she said, which Hearing they would also is Tuesday. "You can barely get lose some sidewalk and yard through the streets." with the easement parameters With cans in the streets on changes, both women recon- both sides, Ward said it's chal- sidered their answers, lenging to navigate, whether "We can't lose any yard," Si- in cars, on bikes or walking. fuentes said. She said her children ride on In addition,'Ward and Sifu- the sidewalks - even though entes said they believe some the homeowner's associa- residents park on the street in- tion frowns on it - because tentionallyto slowdown traffic, the roads are too dangerous. Fast-moving cars are a cause Last year, one of her daugh- for concern among neighbor- ters, now seven, rode her bike hood residents, around a car parked in a drive- "People fly through here," way but over the sidewalk. She Ward said. "I think some people cut too close when getting intentionally park on the street back on the sidewalk, leading to slow them down." to a crash. She suffered a con- Studies show drivers tend to cussion. slow down on narrow streets How do the other options with cars on both sides, fare? Whispering Hollow resident Widening the streets would Amy Urbanovsky said she is involve moving underground concerned about the speed utilities, trees and sidewalks that vehicles travel through the throughout the affected neigh- neighborhood, borhoods, Huckaby said. "The streets are a major '~md if TCEQ rules say the concern for us,'! she wrote in roads can't be wider than 27- an email. "First of all, we need feet, how could they make the speed limit signs. My opinion streets wider?' he asked. is 20 mph. This neighborhood Whispering Hollow residents is filled with children. With all asked the same question. the video games and teclmol- Requiring one-sided parking ogy, our children should be or no parking on the streets ap- encouraged to play outside on pears to be a cause for concern their bikes, play catch, or play a for some Whispering Hollow game of kick ball. Not be forced residents. to stay inside because of negli- "I'm concerned about fami- gent drivers." lies with more than two or three cars," Sifuentes said. "Plus, how will they enforce it?" Whether it's through an HOA role vs. a city ordinance is un- clear at this point. Enforcing the no parking within 30 feet of an intersection seems to be a preferred option among several residents. "That seems to be the most logical fix," Ward said. Another resident, Grant Henry, said, "Enforcement of existing laws is the obvious first choice and there is no rea- son why it shouldn't already be happening." KathyWood agrees residents should abide by existing laws. "I feel that the idea of the city first enforcing the no parking within 30 feet of the stop signs and 20 feet of intersections and no parking within 15 feet of fire hydrants is a good start. Painting the curbs will help to remind people of the laws," she said. Jerri Strain wants to get the neighborhood association in- volved to make residents aware of the issue. She also prefers to enforce existing laws regarding parking in intersections. "I don't think anyone will have a problem trying to com- ply, especially due to the safety factor," she wrote. Several residents, includ- ing Holly McCrea, said part of the problem is not just narrow roads, but small driveways and garages. "The garages aren't big enough," she said. "I'm not sure I could put my suburban into my garage, it's not deep enough, or wide enough for 2 cars. Who approved these specs? The driveways aren't long enough either." MelissaVester agrees. "Garages on these track homes are so small that the average size SUV doesn't fit in the garage and if the family has teenagers with cars, then a car has to be parked in the street or block the sidewalk if cars are double parked in the drive- way." Some Whispering Hollow neighbors like Mairin Peevey believe some families aren't able to use their garages for cars because they are serving as storage facilities. "Everyone clean out their ga- rages and park in there or the driveway freeing up the streets 100%," she suggested. And while it wouldn't fix the existing issue, Vester and Mc- Crea think the city needs to put new restrictions in place for the developers to make streets wider. "What I don't understand is why the city continues to ap- prove these excessively narrow roads?" McCrea asked. "They are still building them, right now - in fact they just finished two new sections in Whisper- ing Hollow and I'm sure they're building new narrow roads be- hind my house in Elm Grove right now!" The final decision on what to do for existing neighborhoods remains to be seen. Buda Mayor Todd Ruge said the timeline for the survey has not been set. s new Montimere registers as sex offender in Texas i + The key to buying life insurance is working with people you trust, a company you know, and getting a plan that meets your needs. That's why Germania Life is the right choice. We offer a wide variety of policies, flexible terms and range of premium options. And because we only insure Texans, your local Germania agent knows how Texans live. Contact your local Germania agent to help develop a plan that's right for this stage of your life - and beyond. Find out why, for over 115 years, Germania has been The Insurance Texans Trust. Hays Insurance 512-262-3388 (Buda) Dale Posey 512-398-5948 (Kyle) Germanialnsurance.com BY JON VANDERLAAN From the Odessa American From the hardwood floor to the hill country, it appears the man formerly known as Jerry Joseph has found a home. Guerdwich Montimere, 25, registered May 16 for the first time as a sex offender in Hays County. He is living in Kyle, a fast-grow- ing town in Central Texas. Montimere was convicted in 2011 on two counts of sexual assault of a child and three counts of tam- pering with govern- ment records after it MONTIMERE was' discovered the then-22-year-old man posed as a teenaged Haitian orphan to play basketball. He was sen- tenced to two years in prison. He first enrolled at Nimitz Junior High in January 2009 before becoming a standout basketball player at Permian. Then in April 2010 at an off- season tournament, he was spotted by former coaches and teammates, and his story shortly thereafter unraveled. Head coach Danny Wright of the Permian boys basketball team took Montimere into his house as he often did with stu- dents who had nowhere to go, and the Wrights were among the first to prove Montimere wasn't who he said he was after going through his belong- ings and finding dif- ferent sets of pass- ports. Montimere, listed at 6 feet 5 inches and 209 pounds on the Texas Department of Public Safety sex offender registry, is required to register for life every quar- ter. The man listed his address as 400 Crystal Meadow Drive in Kyle, and also listed that ad- dress as his work address with John Kimbro. A property search with the Hays County Central Appraisal District shows that the property is listed as farm and ranch land. According to a previous Odessa American story, Kim- bro was an AAU coach in Buda where Montimere tried the same con before playing for Permian. The address is located with- in a short walking distance of Barton Middle School in Hays Consolidated ISD. According to the Texas De- partment of Public Safety web- site, the sex offenders registra- tion program itself does not prohibit sex offenders from living in areas where children congregate. Any regulation restricting movement of sex offenders is by probation and parole laws, as well as local ordinances. Because Montimere is not on probation or parole, as he has completed his sentence, the only law that would pre- vent him from living near a school would be a local ordi- nance. A search of the city's code online showed no mention of an ordinance regarding sex of- fenders. City officials did not return messages for comment. Kyle's population was about 5,000 people in 2000 and grew to more than 28,000 people in 2010. :+