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Kyle, Texas
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June 16, 2010     Hays Free Press
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mm SOLID OFFSEASON Lady Rebel volleyball to battle in tough new district this fall. - Page 1B DO THE RIGHT THING Friends honored for providing important first aid to an injured friend. - Page 3B ii!i!!iiiiii:i ............................. Barton Publications,lc. , Vol. 108 No. 10 ii!i!ill Buda, Kyle and Northeast Hays County 75 PHOTO BY JEN BIUNDO Former PEC board president Juan Garza Divided PEC board fires general manager BY JEN BIUNDO jen@haysfreepress.com In a surprise move, a di- vided board of the Pedernales Electric Cooperative voted in a 5-2 split to fire General Man- ager Juan Garza Monday, just five days before the annual members' meeting that will replace two lame duck board members. Garza was hired in early 2008, as an embattled PEC was facing a member-led law- suit and mounting allegations of criminal wrongdoing by co- op officials, enabled by a com- placent board of directors. He replaced former General Man- ager Bennie Fuelberg, who is now preparing to face trial on felony charges of money laundering, theft in excess of $200,000 and misapplication PEC 2010 Annual meeting When: 2 p.m., Saturday, June 19 Where: PEC Training Center, 1506 North U.S. Highway 281, Johnson City of fiduciary excess of $200,000. Garza, three new board members elected as reform candidates joined forc- es with the last two remaining old guard directors who were appointed under Fuelberg's watch, O.C. Harmon and R.B. Felps. Board members have been tight-lipped about their rea- sons for firing Garza, calling it a private personnel issue. "luan Garza truly is a de- cent person," said PEC BOard President Larry Landaker. "He has been 'a good steward of the co-op through a difficult transition. He worked with the board to bring about some of the financial reforms we now enjoy - those are to his credit. But.there are a host of other things." Landaker, elected in 2009, declined to list any specific See PEC FIRING, pg. 2A Kyle fights for cheaper well Water BY SEAN KIMMONS sean@haysfreepress,com The city of Kyle plans to go to court to appeal its permit request to pump ad- ditional water out of Edward's Aquifer, which was htSetl down back in Febru- ary, city officials 'say. On Feb. 11, the Barton Springs/Ed- wards Aquifer Conservation District's board of directors unanimously alloted an additional 100.7 million gallons to the city, increasing its future pumpage to 265.7 million gallons annually. The gi had originally requested a ( ;lass B( Gridilionaatodutto r PetTnit to more than dO/zb1its pumpage from 165 million gallons to 350 million gal- lons annually for public water use. Under the conditional permit, the' city is allowed to export aquifer water from its well, located near the Perform- ing Arts Center on Kohler's Crossing, to serve water customers outside the Bar- ton Springs district. Kyle city councilmembers voted 7-0 to appeal the decision following an ex- ecutive session at its council meeting on June 1. The appeal is likely to be filed at one of the district courts in San Marcos. "The council felt that we had achieved all of the requirements," Mayor Lucy. Johnson said of the permit, first request- ed in late 2008. "They had no good legal reason to deny our permit." Johnson believes that the district's board of directors was unfairly swayed by the "emotional outpour" by environ- mental activists. In late August, a drawn-out hearing began when the Save Our Springs Alli- ance contested the city's requested per- mit, fearing it would impact endangered salamanders and local well owners. "They mainly want [the permit] to have cheaper water than their current water sources," Bill Bunch, the organi- zation's staff attorney, had said. John Dupnik, an environmental per- mit specialist for the Barton Springs dis- trict, says it charges 69 cents per 1,000 gallons for Kyle's permit. "It's relatively cheap," Dupnik said. "We're capped at what we can charge." See 10fl WMER PERMIT FIGHT, pg. 2A Subt address $ PHOTO BY CYNOY SLOVAK-BARTON Reaching new heights San Antonio resident Adolph Hoffman, 88, skims over 6'3" at the San Marcos River Vault during recent competition. Hoff- man is aiming high - trying to beat the world record of 8' in pole vaulting for his age group. Training for the U.S. Senior Olym- pics, Hoffman works out alongside Hays High School pole vaulters with coach Kris Allison of Lone Star Pole Vaulting. U.S. Foods passes go BY JEN BIUNDO jen@haysfreepress.com Justices with the Texas Supreme Court on Friday shot down a case filed by opponents of Buda's U.S. Foodser- vice Development, potentially giving the company a green light to move for- ward with construction of a food distri- bution facility just east of IH-35. "I think this is the last hurdle," said Buda Economic Development Direc- tor Warren Ketteman. "It looks like U.S. Foodservice can build that new state-of-the-art $51 million facility in Buda, Texas. It's good news all the way around." Members of the group BudaFirst sued the city of Buda last year, arguing that councilmembers violated the citi- zens' fights when they refused to honor a petition calling for a referendum elec- tion regarding a land use change for the controversial U.S. Foodservice fa- cility in the Sunfield development east of Buda. A referendum election lets citizens vote to support or overturn a city coun- cil action. Though the site is located just east of the city limits in the city's extraterrito- rial jurisdiction (ETI) and Buda has no zoning authority over the land, a devel- opment agreement gives the city some clout in land use planning. The site had originally been slated for office use, but the development agreement amend- ment opened up about 90 acres for light industrial use, drawing outcry from a group of citizens who said that the de- velopment would generate heavy truck traffic and mar the gateway to Buda. Meanwhile, other residents supported the development, citing the well-pay- ing jobs it would bring to the area. The city said the contractual land use change was an "executive act" not sub- ject to a referendum election, in which citizens can vote to overturn council decisions. After lower courts threw out the suit, petitioners and BudaFirst members Jim Hoilis and Christopher Juusola ap- pealefl to the Supreme Court in mid- March. Lbss than throe months later, justices have now denied the suit with- See U.S. FOODS, pg. 4A Due to lack of.  mainte- " nance, the U.S. flag flails in front of the Kyle Post Office raising the ire of some local residents, I Old Glory not so at P.O. BY JEN BIUNOO Hill said. "l wonder if the men the Battle of the Bulge. During jen@haysfreepress.com A Kyle resident and World War II veteran says he!s out- raged by the condition of the U.S. flag hanging outside the Kyie Post Office. Arthur Hill, a member of the Kyle VFW, said he's com- plained numerous times about the broken hooks anchoring the flag, leaving the stars and stripes hanging limply rather than flying proudly. "They said they have to have a work order to take it down," and women defending that flag got a work order before they got killed." Hill says he's complained four times to the post office and written a letter to the post- master general in Washington. The post office employees called the police on Hill the last time he went in to com- plain, he said, though police officers did not arrest him. Hill said he was stationed in Iceland and Northern Ireland during WWII, then landed in Normandy 10 days after the D-Day invasion and fought in his time in Europe, his com- manding officer and half of his platoon were killed, Hill said; he escaped with a bayo- net wound. Today, he and his wife live with their daughter in Kyle. Kyle Postmaster Carol W'fl- liams said the hooks that held up the flag occasionally break. "We had a problem with the flag yesterday, but it's straight- ened out today," Williams said Tuesday. When told that the flag was still mis-hung, Williams said the office would look into it. Local company donates sign to Hays Youth Sports Complex - Page 1g Opinions ..................... 3A Sports ..................... 1-2B Education ............... 3-4B Community Columns ......... 1C Bulletin Boards ............ 2C Obituaries .................. 4C Church Page ............... 3C Business News ............ 1 D Service Directory ...... 2-3D Classifieds .................. 2D Public Notices ...... 3&4D