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Hays Free Press
Kyle, Texas
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June 15, 2011     Hays Free Press
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June 15, 2011
 

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Hays Free Press June 15, 2011 NEIn Page 3A BY KATIE 6/BRNTN The Texas Tribune The board of the Lower Colorado River Authority wasted no time in naming a longtime staffer to take over as the orga- nization's general manager, following the resignation of Tom Mason a week ago. Rebecca Motal, 61, took her first job with the LCRA, an enormous CentralTexas wholesale electricity and water supplier, in 1972, and she served most recently as the executive manager of external affairs. She has not worked at the LCRA continu- ously over the decades; at one point she served as the chairwoman of the Travis County Republican Party. "Becky Metal has a thorough under- standing of a very complex organiza- tion, solid relation- ships with appointed and elected leaders from across our region and a true passion for public service," LCRA Board Chairman Tim Timmerman said in a statement issued MOTAL shortly after the LCRA board unanimously approved her ap- pointment. "She is a person with a keen intellect, solid values and clear vision. She understands the issues facing LCRA and she understands the ~ture." Said Motal in a statement: "My career has been one of public service, and I am honored to be asked to lead such an in- credibly dedicated staff of public servants who work every day to improve the qual- ity of life of the people of Texas." Motars swift appointment is unlikely to please some state lawmakers. In an interview last week, state Sen. "ll, oy Fraser, R-Horseshoe Bag said toat he, Sen. KirkWatson, D-Austin, and Sen. Glenn Hegar, R-KaW, would push for a thorough search for a replacement for Mason. "The thiee senators axe requesting that this be a very extensive search," Fraser said, adding that ultimately he hoped to find someone ~mm the outside that's not connected to the IERA." ACC Lawsuit Continued from pg. 1A Wolbrecht's attorneys ap- bonds for construction until pealed the decision in March, the legal challenge has been and his challenge is awaiting resolved. a ruling by Austin's 3rd Court The lawsuit has cost ACC of Appeals. Wolbrecht's law- about $21 million in federal yers are not charging him for stimulus funds, according to their work, and 25 or 30 peo- the college. Because of Wol- pie have contributed to his brecht's legal challenge, the legal fund in case his chal- college was unable to apply lenge is returned to a lower for the Build America Bonds court, he added, program, which would have "There's alot of supporters funded 35 percent of interest who think we got a raw deal," costs associated with con- he said. struction of the Hays campus. CobbyCaputo, alawyerfor Until the bonds are is- ACC, referred media inqul- sued, the college can't deter- ries to the college's spokes- mine the size and capacity woman, Alexis Patterson. of the planned campus, but The spokeswoman referred it hopes to serve about 2,000 questions to a news release, students. In the meantime, In the news release, the col- students from Hays CISD are lege said it is moving forward eligible for the lower in-dis- with plans for the campus, trict tuition rate at other ACC but it will not be able to issue campuses. + BY KOLTEN PARKER news@haysfreepress.com As a result of Central Texas' dehydrated weather conditions, Hays County extend- ed a burn ban on Tuesday and prohibited the use of bottle rockets and similar aerial fireworks ahead of the July 4 holiday. Hays and 208 other counties of the state's 254 are under an outdoor fire ban. The commissioners court on Tuesday vot- ed to extend the Hays burn ban for 90 days unless weather conditions improve. Hays County, which has been under the ban since last December except for a brief window in April, has a Keetch-Byram Drought Index of 698 out of S00, said Coun- ty Fire Marshal Mark Chambers. He said the number could climb to above 750 by July 4 if Hays County does not receive rain. On Tuesday, a grassfire blazed for about 20 minutes in the western Hays County subdivision of Belterra, damaging about 12 acres of vegetation, said Dripping Springs Fire Chief David Grill. Although the fire did not damage any homes, it demonstrated the potential danger wild fires pose in the dry conditions, fire offi- cials said. Pet. 3 Commissioner Will Conley said he is familiar with the devastation of wild fires. "I have had to stand in a neighborhood with the residents, watching everything they have worked for bum to the ground right in front of them," Conley said. "I would rather be known as the 'Grinch' who took away fireworks than to allow a neighborhood and community to be de- stroyed." Local businessman Chester Davis, who owns multiple fireworks stands in Hays County, Said he supports the county's de- cision to ban the aerial fireworks that have the highest potential to spark a wildfire. "Sticks and missiles are only a small per- centage of our sales," Davis said. "These types of fireworks are the most dangerous because they axe difficult to control after being lit and they land the farthest dis- tance away from the shooter," Davis said. Most counties in Central Texas, includ- ing Travis and W'flliamson, have banned the sale of all fireworks for this year's Fourth of July celebrations as well as can- ceiling public firework displays. However Kerry Urbanowicz, director of Kyle Parks and Recreation, said public firework displays in Kyle, Buda, San Mar- cos and Lockhart are scheduled to con- tinue as planned. Urbanowicz said Kyle's annual firework display is safe because they are supervised by professional pyrotechnicians. He add- ed that the new location at the Plum Creek golf course is ideal because grass is kept short and watered frequently. Residents who violate the restriction of the use of bottle rockets can face a Class C misdemeanor citation with up to a $500 fine. ii :i !ili Old Fas/ffoned Soda Foantain Treats 203 Railroad St. Budx PImnnacy 312-2111 Fountain 312-2172 Fountain Hours: Mon-Sat, 8 a.m.-8 p.m.; Pharmacy Houri: Mon-Fri, 9 a.m.-6 p.m,; Sat,9 a.m.-2 p.m. Closed Sunday Fast friendly service ~oith an ol#-fasbioned fla~or Guru Bond Lamuit Continued from pg. 1A who remains on the line for the $1 mil- lion cash bond and $10 million personal recognizance bond. "R's a final judgment," Assistant District Attorney David Mendoza said Friday. "The judgment says that the party on the law- suit [Saraswati].is liable for both bonds." Spiegel, of Los Angeles, signed both bonds in 2008 after Saraswati, also known as Swarniji, was charged with 20 counts of indecency with a child by sexual contact. The former treasurer of Swamiji's Hays County-based ashram, Barsana Dham, Spiegel has said that he became one of the guru's devotees about 25 years ago. 1503 RIVER ROAD SAN MARCOS TX On March 7, Swamiji was found guilty on all charges and, while absent from his punishment hearing, he was sentenced to 14 years in prison and a $10,000 fine for each count. U.S. Marshals are still hunting for him and believe he fled from a previ- ous hideout in Nuevo Laredo, Mexico, to an unknown location. In the sentencing portion of Swamiji's trial, Spiegel said he was rushed into sign- ing the $10 million bond in 2008, and was confused about what the document con- tained. The county has already recei~/ed $1 mil- lion from the cash bond, but is trying to secure most, if not all, of the $10 million bond. However, mystery shrouds Spiegers liability in the trial, since county officials would not confirm or deny if a settlement took place to get Spiegel offthe hook. "The suits involving Peter Spiegel were non-suits, which means they were dis- missed," Mendoza said. "l have no further comment with respects to Peter Spiegel." During a regular Hays County Com- missioners Court meeting on May 31, Hays County Iudge Bert Cobb went into a closed-door executive session to sign settlement agreements on the bond cases. Cobb could not be reached for comment. Under state law, executive sessions are not subject to public record. Spiegel and Sawamji's defense team in- dudes four Texas lawyers with experience in bail bonds. Attorneys Randy Adler of Dallas, Ken Good of Tyler, Roger Moore of Austin and Barry Hitchings of San Antonio declined or could not be reached for com- ment. Mendoza says that the defense team has 30 days to appeal the court's ruling. After that, the state could go into collec- tion proceedings to recoup funds from the $10 million bond. "If he has assets, the state could go after that," said Mendoza, adding that it's un- clear if the district attorney's office will go this route. District Attorney Sherri Tibbe has said that all of the recovered money will go di- rectly to the county's general fund. Steady Job v' Then call me, because you're Steady Residence Proper Down Payment V' M-F, 8:30-6pm & Sat, 8:30-5pm FARMER Debbie Thames Insurance Agency AUTO. HOME. LIFE BOAT HEALTH 251 N. FM 1626 #2C Buda, TX 78610 Office: (512) 312-1917 Fax: 312-0688 Email: dvthames@ austinxr.com Monday-Friday, 9am-5pm Your Business & Referrals Are Appreciated e 9 PEDIATRIC AND ADULT CARE Austin Ear, Nose, and Throat Clinic is proud to introduce our Kyle location. Dr. Tom Nowlin is one of our physicians specializing in both pediatric and adult care with certification from the American Board of Otolaryngology. 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