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New Braunfels Herald Zeitung (Newspaper) - April 2, 2003, New Braunfels, Texas New Braunfels WEDNESDAY April 2, 2003 18 pages in I sections "VBF"    appMHMp    18    pages    in    I    secj ierald-Zeitung Vol. 152, No. 119Serving New Braunfels and Comal County since 1852 50 cents •j* • • • ■ American forces rescue POW, Page 5A I Cross Lutheran students start prayer wall, Page 5A ■ Briefs from the warfront, Page 5A Battling clears way to Baghdad By David Espo AP Special Correspondent Army ground forces attacked Republican Guard units Tuesday near Karbala, scarcely 50 miles from Baghdad, part of around-the-clock combat pointing toward an assault on the capital. Defense officials said Army units attacked elements of the Medina Division of the Republican Guard in the clash near Karbala, hitting an elite Iraqi force weakened by heavy air bombardment over several days. The developments unfolded as huge explosions rocked Baghdad, Saddam Hussein’s seat of power and the site of repeated bombing in the two weeks of the war. Plumes of white smoke rose from the southern end of the Old Palace on the west bank of the Tigris River, home to a camp for the Republican Guard. Saddam summoned his country — via a spokesman — to a “jihad,” or holy war, against the invaders. But American and British officials used the occasion to raise fresh doubts about the fate of a man seen in public only on videotape since the war began. The attack on forces near Karbala marked the first major ground battle against Saddam’s Republican Guard, and capped a day of aggressive American and British military actions. Marines staged a nighttime raid on Nasiriyah, a column of amphibious assault vehicles rolling into town under a moonless sky — and finding Iraqis had abandoned a huge, walled police compound. In Basra, a city of 1.3 million, warplanes dropped 500-pound and 1,000-pound laser-guided bombs on an Iraqi intelligence complex in an effort to dislodge die-hard defenders who have kept British forces at bay for days. “What you’re seeing today on the battlefield in Iraq is a continuation of prep-ping the battlefield for a major encounter with the Republican Guard,” said Navy Capt. Frank Thorp.See BATTLING/3A County heads to Austin to speak on bills Be it resolved- By Ron Maloney Staff Writer Comal County Commissioners passed a series of resolutions in a special court session Monday to let the 78th Texas legislature know the local perspective on pending bills. Monday’s meeting was called so that commissioners and county staff testifying before committees in Austin would be able to present the resolutions this week. County Criminal District Attorney Dib Waldrip and County Counsel Geoff Barr prepared the resolutions based on discussions iii commissioners’ court this past Thursday. The first resolution, 2003-22, was in opposition to Senate Bill 860 and House Bill 1687, companion bills which Comal County Commissioners voted unanimously Monday to voice opposition to bills that would: ■ Expand the uses of the venue sales tax to include funding for “water conservation" outside of a county or municipality; and ■ Require a county to remove blockages in drainage ditches on private property. Commissioners voted unanimously to support bills that would; ■ Rescind laws passed in the 77th Texas Legislature ordering cities and counties to enter into interlocal agree- would require the county to remove blockages in private drainage ditches. In the resolution, Comal ments to regulate growth and development in a city's Extra-Territorial Jurisdiction; and ■ Allow counties to assess fees for processing subdivision plats. Commissioners could not agree on a resolution regarding funding cuts in adult probation and mental health and mental retardation services, or for proposed changes in indigent health care funding that would dramatically increase costs to counties. That resolution has been redrafted and will be presented for action Thursday at commissioners' court County claims it would cost $2 million in the first year to meet tile requirements and See COUNTY/3A Inside Abby........................... 6A Classifieds 4-6B Comics........................ ,.9A Crossword RA Forum.......................... ......7A Movies RA Obituaries 3A Soots ..............1Q-12A Today........................... PA TV Gods................ 3B Key Code 76 g ""56825 0000 i1®1 i Sentence for drug dealer disappoints prosecution, defense By Ron Maloney Staff Writer District Court Judge Gary Steel sentenced Arnaldo Aleman Gomez to 45 years in state prison Tuesday for engaging in organized crime by selling drugs. While gratified at the guilty verdict reached Feb 19 after a weeklong trial in 274th Judicial District Court, prosecutor, Assistant District Attorney Joe Soane III, was less than enthusiastic about the sentence. “We’re disappointed,” Soane said. “He can be out in very little time,” in fact. Gomez faced between 25 and 99 years in state prison. The sentence Steel imposed Tuesday was “stacked" on top of the remainder of a previous sentence for the aggravated robbery of a Safeway store in New Braunfels in 1983. With time for good behavior and if he commits no further crimes in prison, Gomez, 48, could be out in about 20 years. Defense Attorney Joseph Garcia III hopes to get Gomez home way before that, though. The attorney promised shortly after the sentence wasThe charges Arnaldo Aleman Gomez was convicted of engaging in an organized criminal activity by: ■ Possession with intent to distribute heroin; ■ Possession with intent to deliver cocaine; ■ Possession with intent to deliver methamphetamine; and ■ Possession of between 4 ounces and 5 pounds of marijuana. announced that he would appeal the verdict. “We have a lot of issues to raise,” Garcia said. "We have problems with how the search warrant was secured, and we have factual Issues as to the legal requirements for the charges of engaging in organized crime. We’ll see,” Garcia said. Gomez was arrested with his brother, Rodolfo, 39, and his sister, Sandra, 41, in a Dec. 13, 2001, SWAT team raid on their family home on West Bridge Street. The arrest warrant was based upon four drug buys See SENTENCE/3A New annexation plan draws ire of farmers By Ron Maloney Staff Wnter The New Braunfels Planning and Zoning Commission ’Tuesday night approved and will submit to city council a plan to annex this year 6.12 square miles of land. The vote was 6-1 with planner Ken Brucks casting the “no” vote. Malt of the property rn this year’s annexation package is on the northeast and east side of the city, although three small tracts are on the northwest edge of New Braunfels between Farm-to-Market Road 1863 and 'texas 46. Much of it is sparsely populated, although some is developed. This year, City Planner Frank Robbins said, the city is concentrating on annexing properties that are less developed and that it can provide services for. That focus comes nearly two years after northwest New Braunfels subdivisions sued to block annexation and in the wake of interpretations of state law that ease the annexation process for certain properties. Included for proposed annexation on the northeast end of the city is an area roughly bordered by Orion Drive and Conrads Road bounded on the north by the Union Pacific railroad tracks. It extends southeast of Interstate 35 along Kohlenberg Road to FM HOI and back to FM 483. On the southeast part of the city, areas include the McAlister Ranch (the Guadalupe Cattle Company) on Texas 46, and three areas stretching from just north of Saengerhalle Road east to Saur Lane and south toward the New Braunfels Municipal Airport past FM 758 to Wehner Road. Under the tunetable set for annexation, the city council will consider the proposals ui May. 'The schedule calls for the city to recoin mend specific properties for annexation in April. Public hearings would be conducted in July. 'The annexation orduiance would be read Aug 20, Sept. 3 and Sept. 17. Annexations would be completed by Nov. 19. See ANNEXATIONS . From Staff Reports New Braunfels firefighters were called to the Sum-merwood subdivision area Tuesday afternoon to investigate a controlled burn being conducted as part of the Guadalupe River cleanup. New Braunfels Fire Department Battalion Chief Don Zercher said firemen went to an area off Fair Lane just after lunch after neighbors reported concerns about a large debris fire. “We received calls. It was a little too strong of a wind for them to be burning,” Zercher said. Fire Lt. Scott Renken at Fire Station 3 on Hanz Drive said the contractor, Regency Construction Ltd. of Slidell, La., had the fire under control. “We looked at it. It was calm this morning, but by around lunch time, the wind had picked up,” Renken said. Fire Marshal Darren Brinkkoeter said that the firm had a permit for the fire, but after assessing the wind conditions, they were asked to allow the fire to burn itself out for the day. “We gave them a verbal warning and asked them not to put any more fuel on the fire," Brinkkoeter said. Even with a permit, the city doesn’t want fires when winds gust. “We look at cutting them off when the wind reaches 23 mph. We had gusts up to 28 mph," Brinkkoeter said. Stan Workman with Regency Construction said his firm would abide by the city’s wishes. “The fire marshal has been by and he said that all they would be able to do is put water on it all night before it went out, so we’re just going to let it burn down,” he said. Bnnkkoeter said the firm would monitor the fire and would rekindle a second pile today if conditions weren’t so windy. “We’re trying to work with the city and the agency to get this flood debris cleaned up,” Brinkkoeter said. Company was burning trash from river cleanup effort Winds whip up debris fire K. JESSIE SLATEN/Herald-Zertung Regency Construction’s Stan Workman orders more dirt put on a second pile of burning wood as small flames shoot up from the debris. New Braunfels Fire Department’s Engine Three and Fire Marshal Darren Brinkkoeter were called out to the riverside property after high winds began fueling the permitted bum. r ;