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New Braunfels Herald Zeitung (Newspaper) - April 7, 2007, New Braunfels, Texas SATURDAY, APRIL 7,2007 Zeitung SPORTS SOFTBALL New Braunfels softball and baseball both beat Clemens on Friday. Page 8A NEWS ARRESTS Four men were arrested after authorities raided Hays County gaming rooms. Page 3A Serving New Braunfels and Comal County since 1852. |    DEAR ABBY    3B I    CLASSIFIEDS    5B I    COMICS    2B •    ;    CROSSWORD 2B 90% chance of rain    I    F0RUM 4A High Low    =    OBITUARIES 3A I    46    37    I    SPORTS    8A 1 S    Details    . . .    .    1B    i    TV GRIDS    3B Vol. 154, No. 126 20 pages, 2 sections 500 I 56825 00001Thieves run off with athletes’ belongings By Jessica Sanders The Herald-Zeitung New Braunfels police are tracking thieves who reportedly ran off with students’ possessions at a high school track meet Thursday night. Two New Braunfels High School students and one Smithson Valley High School student reported personal items missing after the Uni ■ 3 local students reported items missing at track meet corn Invitational track meet at Unicorn Stadium, according to a police report. New Braunfels Police Cpl. Darren Rutledge said a track bag, a backpack and a purse where stolen from an area behind the bleachers were students where leaving their posses sions. Among the items missing are a set of keys, a debit card, a checkhook, soccer cleats, two iPods, some articles of clothing, a cell phone and some jewelry. “The officers were told that there might have been more victims who left already,” Rutledge said, adding that he did not know the value of the missing items. Athletic Director Chuck Caniford, of New Braunfels Independent School District, said more than 1,000 people — including coaches and athletes — attended the annual competition between 14 area schools. “I wouldn’t say things like this are the standard, but its not uncommon,” Caniford said of the thefts. “We ask kids not to bring valuables and not to leave their bags unless a teammate is watching them, but unfortunately kids don’t always listen." I Ie said off-duty police officers are See THEFT, Page 3A Passionate belief Weather might be factor in local pilot’s fatal crash By Mark Koopmans The Herald-Zeitung I he National Transportation and Safety Board has released preliminary findings indicating had weather was likely a factor in Monday’s plane crash that killed 46-year-old Scott Schilleci of Spring Branch. The report states the federal Aviation Authority investigator on the scene, Boyd Kemp!’, noted that fog was reported throughout the area at the time of the crash, which happened close to Sinton, about 150 miles south of New Braunfels. The preliminary information is subject to change before the final “probable cause’’ report comes out in about a year, said lead investigator Craig Hatch. About 8:30 a.m. Monday, Schilleci’s single engine RV-6 airplane, with tail No. N606S, was destroyed when it collided with terrain while executing an instrument approach to the Alfred C. “Bubba” Thomas Airport, according to the report. Schilleci, a captain for f Continental Airlines, See CRASH, Page 10A Scott Schilleci ■ Passion and death of Jesus recalled during ceremonies By Mark Koopmans The Herald-Zeitung for tile past 162 years, since the founders of New Braunfels arrived from Germany, many area residents gathered together, in some form or other, to worship and remember the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. It was on March 21,1845, just six months after the founders of New Braunfels had left their homeland that the small group of German immigrants first crossed the Guadalupe River. They conducted a Ckxxi friday service in what they thought would be a temporary stop during their travels across Texas, local historian Myra Lee Adams Golf said. IWo churches, close to the same location used by the early settlers, will be among many in Comal County celebrating Easter services this weekend. As hundreds of congregants See EASTER, Page 10A Rodriguez portrays Jesus Christ carrying his cross during a scene for the Passion play at Saints Peter and Paul Catholic Church on Friday night. Several area churches will conduct plays and special ceremonies this Easter weekend. United Way springs into financial action for area groups ■ 25 organizations to benefit from $108,000 disbursement By Mark Koopmans The Herald-Zeitung IWenty-five local nonprofit organizations working with children, seniors, abuse victims and some of the poorest local residents got a financial shot in the arm from the United Way of Comal County this week. The agencies, two more than last year, are receiving checks ranging from $625 to $15,(XX) as part of the organization’s second quarter disbursement, said Terry Robinson, the local United Way’s executive director. Robinson recently was hired when Doug Hammerstrom, former executive director, retired after about four years in the position. “Every agency serves different needs found throughout our community," Robinson said. “With more than $433,000 to disburse this year, all our partner agencies, even the multi county ones such as the YMCA, have to he able to show, through quarterly financial reports and on-site visits, that funds received are being used on a specific project or programs.” The United Way supports only those that consistently can prove funds received will be used toward local programs in this county, Robinson said. Hie agencies are of all sizes. Many are small See UNITED WAY, Page 10ACISD took look at policy after arrests■ Hiring practices unchanged By Jessica Sanders The Herald-Zeitung Iwo former Comal Independent School District employees were convicted in sex crimes cases this past week, hut district officials say there were no signs either man posed a threat to students. On March 27, former Smithson Valley Middle School custodian Barry Craig Nielsen, 54, pleaded guilty in federal court to one count of possession of child pornography. On the same day, former Canyon I Ugh School custodian Pablo Gutierrez Garcia, 50, pleaded guilty to two counts of indecency with a child by contact. Investigators said neither Nielsen’s nor Garcia’s crimes involved students at the campuses where they worked. CISD spokeswoman Kari I lutchison said Thursday that it is district policy to run a background check on every employee before they are hired. This included Nielsen and Garcia, but both men were first-time offenders with no complaints on their records. “We could have run background checks every year, but nothing would have shown up,” Hutchison said of the two former employees. “Neither of them had criminal See HIRING, Page 3A AN AMERICAN REVOLUTION -218-0142 #1 GM CERTIFIED DEALER IN CENTRAL TEXAS SEK OUR AD IN CLASSIFIEDS FOR TODAY’S SPECIALS 2.9% rn rffS H    ’hoCAN... leaYanyprice!    725 IH-35 SOUTH * WALNUT EXIT, NEW BRAUNFELS Financing Available for Certified Used COBRLT PONTIAC GG Certified USED VEHICLES 2 9a-' 36 mon UMAC financing AAC NBISD sees high absentee rates on Good Friday By Mark Koopmans The Herald-Zeitung After January's ice storms closed down local schools, New Braunfels Independent School District activated a makeup day on Good Friday. Many students took the holiday off anyway, according to the high absentee rates reported by school officials. On March 5, one church leader, Father James Wass-er of I Joly Family Catholic Church, submitted a petition including more than 1,000 signatures from the community and other church leaders asking the district to consider keeping the religious day as a school holiday. The NBISD school board was unable to find a better choice See NBISD, Page 10A Photos by DAVID INGRAM Herald-Zeitung Eddie Rodriguez of New Braunfels portrays Jesus Christ as he is crucified during a Passion play at Saints Peter and Paul Catholic Church on Friday night. ;