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New Braunfels Herald Zeitung (Newspaper) - April 3, 2004, New Braunfels, Texas *W Y SATURDAY, APRIL 3, 2004 "ni m m_ TALD Zeitung SPORTS PLAYOFFS The New Braunfels girls soccer team loses to Lake Travis 2-1 in double overtime at regional finals. Page SA FORUM COLUMN JT Woodall discusses how the United States must recognize the internal threat footsoldiers of Islam present. Page Serving New Braunfels and Comal County since 1852. Vol. 153, No. 124 12 pages, 2 sections CL 50^ WWW. 56825 00001 O Chance of storms High Low 78 55 Details .... 1B Rain cause of multiple wrecks By Bon Maloney Staff Writer Intermittent hard rains Friday had safety crews busy and closed a section of Interstate 35 with a chain of minor accidents, but caused no serious problems or injuries. National Weather Service officials said most of the worst weather was expected to be behind New Braunfels by this morning— although there would be potential for more Saturday night. North of New Braunfels, rainfall was believed a contributing factor in a multiple vehicle, chain reaction accident that closed southbound Interstate 35 near the Hays County line for nearly three hours. New Braunfels Station 3 firefighter Antho ny Pitzer said his engine arrived at the accident scene shortly after Hays County firefighters to find multiple accidents spread over a mile of interstate. “I couldn't say how many vehicles were involved, but it was at least IO,” Pitzer said. "Most were minor, but we had one who ran into the back of a semi and we had to fly him out. He was serious, but he was still stable.” County Engineer Tom Homseth reported no problems on county roads, although his crews were monitoring low-water crossings and were ready to go out if conditions warranted. “I think we’re through the worst of it,” Homseth said Friday afternoon. The National Weather Service reported some FRONTand Center weather could continue into today, though. "The rain is still out there, but the intensity is going down,” Cristy Mitchell, National Weather Service meteorologist said Friday night. Friday’s rains were caused by spokes mat broke off of a low pressure system centered over southern Arizona, Mitchell said. “Another spoke will arrive late Saturday night,” Mitchell said. “In the meantime, the air is still fairly wet. With daytime heating, there s a 30 percent chance of rain Saturday.” Locally, Mitchell said some low-water crossings in Bexar and Guadalupe counties were closed Friday night with flood watches in effect, but there were few problems reported. MANDY REARY/Herald-Zeitung Carol Landry proudly shows off her long lasting bluebonnets Monday. This single plant of bluebonnets have been blooming non-stop since last November without any help from her or her family. Wildflower hunting season starting DID YOU KNOW? NUMBERS TO FIND BLUEBONNETS ■ TxDOT hotline: (800) 452-9292 WEBSITES TO FIND BLUEBONNETS ■ Texas Hill Country Wildflower Trail Web site — ■ Fredericksburg Wddseed Farms Web site — ■ Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center Web site — www. wildflower. org ■ Wine and Wildflower Trail — By Leigh Jones Staff Writer Springtime in Texas would not be the same without fields of bluebon nets. The flowers only last four lo six weeks, but they are the subject of countless photographs, paint ings and other Texiana. Since 1965, the Texas Department of Transportation has participated in a project to beautify the state's highways by sowing wildflower seeds each fail. More than 33,000 pounds of seed are dispersed each year along 79,000 miles of state-maintained highways. The 30 vari eties of seed ensure that flowers will bloom in the medians through the summer. “The driving force behind the seeding project was the Highway Beautification Act championed by Lady Bird Johnson,” said TxDOT Public information Officer Bill Powell. As soon as flowers start popping up, Texans take to the roads in search of the perfect bluebonnet patch. Because bluebonnets bloom at different times in different areas throughout the state, flower seekers used to have difficulty determining which route to drive each weekend. In 2000, TxDOT added a wildflower blooming status report, broken down by state region and road number, to its road conditions hotline. In 2002, the report was added to their Web site. Seasonal bluebonnets staying perennially in garden By Uigh Jonas Staff Writer Carol limdry may not be a horticulturalist, but she knows how to grow bluebonnets. Last spring, lirndry planted several bluebonnets in her front yard. They bloomed, and the seeds foil off, ready to sprout aj»ain in tile tall. Then, it rained. "In July, when it rained, they grew again," Landry said. She never expected them to bloom, hut when November rolled around, clusters of dark blue flowers adorned her renegade plants. Landry was doubly amazed when one plant continued to bloom through the winter. She did not apply special fertilizer or bloom booster product and chalks up her unique wildflower to a natural quirk. "I've never see a bluebonnet bloom in November,” she said “I think it was just kind ol a freak.” When the plant finishes blooming this spring, Landry plans to remove the seeds DEAR ABBY 6A CLASSIFIEDS 3-6B COMICS 2B CROSSWORD 2B FORUM 4A OBITUARIES 3A SPORTS 5A TV GRIDS BB MMippppiflP I Sk ] hi MANDY REARY/Herald-Zeitung Slick roads Friday made perfect conditions for collisions, as several drivers realized. CISD looks at pros, cons of ‘Robin Hood’ By Dylan Jimenez Staff writer Comal Independent School District could save money if legislators end the Robin I lood plan when Gov. Rick Percy calls a special session later this month. Up for discussion is the state’s school funding plan called Chapter 41, or "Robin Hood,” which requires property rich school districts to share wealth with property poor districts. CISD officials estimate they would have to pay $3 million to the state to be distributed to poorer districts. "We think the $3 million is a conservative estimate,” said CISD Superintendent Nancy Fuller. Fuller, who visited the Texas Education Agency this week, said a special session was uncertain, but that she would keep her fingers crossed for an end to Robin Hood and a new, more equitable plan for education finance. “We would always like to keep our own tax money at home,” she said. Under the current funding formula, property values and student enrollment are used to determine if a school district is property rich. School districts are Chapter 41 if the district s total property value when divided by the district’s weiglued average daily attendance exceeds $305,(HK). In summer 2003, the state projected GSD would See CISD, Page 2A “Reporting begins in early March and runs through early May,” Powell said. "Blooming progress is updated every Friday.” As of yesterday’s report, Comal County was not listed as experiencing any significant blooming action. Judy Young, Convention and Visitor’s Bureau director, is not surprised. “We haven’t started to get calls yet, but we will,” she said. “Our rule of thumb is that peak times are from the 5 th to the 15 th of April.” Young often refers callers to TxDOT’s Web site, but cannot resist taking a drive herself. “We do some reconnaissance of our own,” she said. Young’s favorite route circumnavigates the county. She recommends drivers head out of town down FM. 306 and take I\irgatory Road to I’M. 32. Using U.S. 281 as a nortliem perimeter, proceed back to New Braunfels on See FLOWIIIS, Page 3A and save them for next year. “I have a greenhouse, so 1 11 probably grow some in there, ” she said. Nancy Craft, president of the Comal County Master Gardeners, was surprised to learn of Landry’s botanical sideshow. “Bluebonnets are an annual flower,” she said. “Their purpose is to bloom, produce seeds and die.” Even though Landry's experience is unusual, Craft does not doubt its veracity. Five museums receive HOT tax allocations By Scott Mahon Staff Writer The New Braunfels I heritage Commission allocated a portion the I lotel Occupancy lax funds to the city's five museums Thursday. Five organizations, including the New Braunfels Conservation Society, the I ieritage Society of New Braunfels, the New Braunfels I listoric Museums Association, the New Braunfels Historic Railroad and Modelers Society and the Sopiiienburg Museum anti Archives made presentations to the commission The commission allocates 7.14 percent of the city’s HOT tax funds to local museums, Last year, the total allocation was $115,560, said Michael Resendez, commission secretary. The commission recommended allocating 23 percent to the New Braunfels Conservation Society; 23 percent to the Heritage Society of New Braunfels; 4 percent to the New Braunfels Historic Museums Association; IO percent to the New Braunfels Historic Railroad and Modelers Society See , Page 3A Daylight-Saving lime begins at 2 aaa. Sunday. ;