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October 26, 2011     Hays Free Press
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Hays Free Press October 26, 2011 OPINION Page 3A + STAFF REPORT and then $1.4 million a year for meeting onTuesday, that the project - given updated eight years. The agreement will LCRA and SAWS signed an growth projections - would not The Lower Colorado River Au- officially terminate the contract agreement in 2002 to study the meet all of the legislative require- thority Board of Directors voted and end the lawsuit, feasibility of a water-shating proj- ments, meaning no water would last week to settle a $1.2 billion "Through this settlement, San ect to determine if such a project be available for SanAntonio. lawsuit with the San Antonio Wa- Antonians will recover a signifi- could provide for water needs in In May 2009, the SAWS Board ter System over a proposed water cant portion of their investment both basins while meeting require- of Trustees claimed that LCRA's supplyprojectdatingbacknearly intheLCRAwatersupplyproject, mentssetbytheTexasLegislature, use of updated water need pro- a decade, and avoid ongoing legal fees," Generally, the agreement at- jections in the ongoing project In the settlement, LCRA and said Robert R. Puente, president lowed LCRA to study whether studies breached the agree- "SAWS agree to work together to and CEO of SAWS. water from the Colorado River ment and a lawsuit was filed. 'findnewwatersupplies. The LCRA Board unanimously downstream from Austin could LCRA responded that it had In addition to ongoing coop- voted to accept the settlement be captured and storedin areser- not breached the contract and 'erationin the water development at its meeting Oct. 19. The SAWS voir. The water would have been the case was dismissed in 2010. 'arena, LCRA agrees to reimburse Board is scheduled to consider piped to SanAntonio. However, the dismissal was SAWS $18.8 million right away, the measure at its next regular Preliminary findings indicated overturned on appeal. Child Abuse Continued from pg. 1A formed police that she saw Tristan ~with visible injuries on several oc- ,casions. In November 2010, the nurse observed a large bruise, black eye and swollen cheek on the boy's face. She said that Jerold told her that Tristan was walking with him outside to his car when Tristan threw himself to the ground and scraped some rocks. But the nurse said she didn't believe the father since the boy could not walk on his .own at that time, an affidavit used to secure an arrest warrant says. i, The nurse recalled a second ep- isode in March: Jerold said his son had been rocking in a chair and aatmched himself into a TV, shat- tering it. She doubted the father's :story again, and called Tristan ..very timid and cautious without :the strength to do that. Instead, she said that Jerold tossed his son into the T~, she said In the affida- yit, written by San Marcos Police Evidence of abuse Court records detail several accusations of felony child abuse against the parents of 3-year-old Tristan Morgan: Tristan gashed his head when he was thrown into a TV screen He broke his arm under suspicious circumstances A nurse saw him with a black eye and swollen cheek His parents made him stand in a corner for more than an hour as punishment His parents withheld medical treatment for a life-threatening infection Detective Kathy Misiaszek. Tolleson detailed a third injury which resulted in an emergency room visit for Tristan. His mother, Gatlin, explained to the nurse that she was alone with Tristan when she saw him break his arm while falling. But police heard a contradicto- ry story when a psychologist said that Jerold revealed to him that he was holding Tristan's hand when his son pulled away and fell, cans- ing the injury; investigators say. In addition, Tolleson disclosed several times when Jerold used his foot to push Tristan out of the way or made him stand in a comer for longer than an hour as part ofpun- ishment. Both parents also with- held medical treatment for a life- threatening infection that later sent the boy to the hospital, she said. The nurse also claimed she wit- nessed ]erold frequently kick the family dogs and one time strangle a cat until it was unconscious. The other two nurses, Vea Hodo and Amy Redding, who also care for Tristan during 16-hour shifts on weekdays, corroborated much of the stories, saying that Jerold is neglectful and mentally abusive to Tristan and his younger sister. In one example, Redding said the boy had just received Cochlear implants, similar to hearing aids. The doctor warned her and the parents that Tristan should be in a quiet setting until he got comfort- able with the implants. When they got into the carto drive home, she says, Jerold cranked up the ra- di0 and laughed before turning it down, the affidavit stated. As of Tuesday, Jerold remained in custody at Hays County Jail on a $25,000 bond, while Gatlin had been released on a bond for the same amount. According to Hays County civil records, an emergency protective order was issued for Tristan on June 17. BY WES FERGUSON wes@haysfreepress.com Jose Montoya, a retired Air Force senior master sergeant, will face ex-Mayor Bobby Lane in an election to fill the open seat on the Buda City Council. The election is Nov. 8. Early voting has al- ready begtm. Montoya said that smart de- velopment andMONTOYA affordable ac- cess to water were two of the most important issues facing the town. "I want to make sure that Buda has smart growth, and by that I mean that we don't run into the same problem that Kyle has got- ten into by expanding too fast, too soon," he said. After retiring from the Air Force, Montoya worked for the Texas Youth Commission and Texas Rehabilitation Commis- sion. He has lived in Buda since 2004 and serves on the city's Zoning Board of Adjustments and Appeals and Home Rule Charter Review Committee. Montoya said he wants Buda to maintain its small-town feel, although he knows that growth is inevitable. "It's going to happen wheth- er we want it or not, but we can be smart about it," he said. "We can have con- trolled growth that benefits everybody." Lane was out of town and unavailable for comment this week. A council member for nearly a decade, Lane served one tern1 as mayor before he was narrowly defeated by Sarah Mang- ham this past spring. The Place 6 seat on the City Council was vacated when Councilman Scott Dodd armounced that he was moving to Belton. Lane has said his goals are to ensure that Buda's budget remains sound while maintaining an ex- tremely low tax rate. He also said he would work to ensure access to safe and adequate drinking water. Enforcing Water Code: 'They don't expect a knock at 10 p.m.' Continued from pg. 1A will drive by to make sure the homeowner is in compliance. "We've driven around in the evening and found people watering on days when they're not allowed to. They must know they're doing something wrong when they do it under cover of darkness." Biemer smiles slightly. "They're not expecting us to knock on their ,door at 10 p.m." In three hours through six "neighborhoods, Biemer found two homes in active violation ~= in otherwords, a-sprinlder !or soaker hose was running when he drove by. He also ;found four homes with sus- piciously wet grass, sidewalks ~and driveways. At those resi- dences, he left a door hanger ~ explaining the visit along with the current watering schedule. ,. Following each stop, Biemer ~radios in the address and outcome. That information becomes part of the depart- ment's database of water violations, including repeats. During his rounds, Biemer , often gets out and touches :wet grass to determine if a lawn was recently watered, or if it's just dew or humidity. He , also looks for wet sidewalks, ' driveways and runoff in gut- , ters. Another telltale sign is ..very green grass - though that , alone is not cause for stop- ping, he said. One or a combi- nation of factors may lead to ! giving the home or business owner the outreach materials. ', PLUM CREEK HAS MORE REPEAT VIOLATORS The active violations were in Hometown Kyle and Plum Creek; the latter, Biemer noted, has a higher num- ber of repeat offenders than most other Kyle subdivisions. Kensington Trails is another . neighborhood where Biemer sees repeat offenders. He also recalled run-ins with some of the local Home Owner's Associations in those same neighborhoods, includ- ing one that he said encour- aged its members to water in excess of the restrictions so the grass would be green throughout the community. Several also had sprinklers for the public landscaping run- ning when they shouldn't be. Kristi Morrison of the Plum Creek HOA said Kyle's water utility department came to her a few times to let her know the water irrigation system for the neighborhood was running when it shouldn't. She claimed the system was interrupted from a power out- age. Morrison said the HOA sprinklers are now all set on a timer that is in compliance ,with the water ordinance. " She also said her association's newsletter ran articles about the water restrictions, how to mulch and proper tree watering. Biemer acknowledged things are getting better with most of the HOAs. Biemer and his staff prefer "I'd rather help people see why it's better to comply with the restrictions than have them madabout getting cited but not grasp the reason behind it." -Jason Biemer, Kyle utilities coordinator the 'Educate, Warn, Enforce' style of code enforcement when it comes to water restrictions. "I'd rather help people see why it's better to comply with the restrictions than have them mad about getting cited but not grasp the reason behind it." He noted a few success stories from this method, including one particular Plum Creek house. "They had this very green lawn and we re- ceived numerous complaints," he said. '~At one point, we gave them two warnings in the fires has heightened water conservation efforts. Biemer relates tales of homeowners who offer dif- ferent variations of the same excuses when they are caught wet-handed, so to speak. The most common are: "I didn't know my watering day." "I wasn't aware of the restrictions." "I didn't get to water on my day." "Ignorance of the law is not absolution from it," Biemer said. However, he was quick to point out he and other utility staff are only doing their jobs. He prefers educating hom- eowners about water restric- tions to issuing citations. "I usually tell someone who wants to argue with me that they can choose to water their lawn or have safe, abundant drinking water in the future." According to Biemer, it's not usually a tough choice at that point. PHOTO BY KIM HILSENBECK A wet driveway in Hometown Kyle gives away homeowners violating wa- ter restrictions, same week." Biemer said that homeowner's excuse was 'the city had never cited anyone before' for watering. Municipal and private water companies agree that things are changing in Central Texas. Excessive and egre- gious use of water, especially during critical stage drought, is drawing the attention of code enforcement officials. Yet most are still issuing warnings and conducting public educa- tion, not just writing tickets or installing flow restrictors. Biemer does not have the legal authority to issue a citation to repeat offenders, though Kyle's City Manager Lanny Lambert would like to change that. ISSUING CITATIONS Lambert made a request to City Council to give all code enforcement officers the power to write a ticket for any ordinance violation on the spot without waiting for the police. As the drought contin- ues, Lambert believes Kyle will need to step up water restric- tion enforcement efforts. "Expanding the authority to write tickets will help with compliance," he said. In addition to taxing a small town's utility and code enforcement staff, Biemer said water violation citations would also clog up the already overburdened court system. "In an ideal world, water users would police themselves," Biemer said. The Plum Creek soaker hose-using homeowner told Biemer, "I didn't know we were on conservation." Signs at neighborhood entrances announce the water restrictions. The information is also on the City of Kyle's website. Biemer added that lo- cal news coverage of the wild Austin Ear, Nose & Throat Clinic PEDIATRIC AND ADULT CARE Austin Ear, Nose, and Throat Clinic is proud to introduce our Kyle Dcation. Dr. Tom Nowlin is one of our physicians specializing in both pediatTic and Mult care with certification from the American Board of Ototaryngology. Dr. Nowlin's scope of practice includes ear disorders, allergy, hearing aids, facial plastic surgery; advanced sinus surgery, and cancers of the head and neck. He strives to stay abreast of the latest technological advances in medicine and works toward devdoping a trusting relationship with his patients. Additionally, Dr: Nowlin is a native Texan, avid outdoorsman, and hunter. He and his family enjoy ex- ploring all the wonder Texas has m offer. 211 Elmhurst, Suite E in Goforth Square Kyle, Texas 78640 (512) 268-5282 q- m