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New Braunfels Herald Zeitung (Newspaper) - April 11, 2003, New Braunfels, Texas New Braunfels FRIDAY April ll, 2003 16 pages in 2 sections mmmamm mmmmmm    16    pages    in    2    sectl(Herald-Zeitung .    i    < Vol, 152, No. 127Serving New Braunfels and Comal County since 1852 50 cents Bush addresses Iraqis; Kurds lend a hand By David Espo AP Special Correspondent Opposition forces crumbled in northern Iraq on Thursday as U.S. and Kurdish troops seized oil-rich Kirkuk without a Fight, and held a second city within t heir grasp. U.S. commanders said signs pointed to a last stand by Iraqis in Saddam Hussein’s birthplace of Tikrit. Despite the gains, one Marine was killed and 22 injured in a seven-hour battle in the Iraqi capital. Four more were wounded in a suicide bombing. “Baghdad’s still an ugly place,” said Maj. Gen. Gene Renuart. Widespread looting persisted 24 hours after the city celebrated the regime’s fall. Striking anew at the regime leadership, coalition warplanes dropped six satellite-guided bombs on a building where Saddam’s half brother, Bar/an Ibrahim Hasan al-Tikriti, a close adviser, was believed to he. Al-Tikriti once headed the Iraqi intelligence service, and the building in Ar Ramadi, 60 miles west of Baghdad, had served as an intelligence service operations site, said Marine Maj. Brad Bartelt, a spokesman for the U.S. Central Command in the Persian Gulf. It was not known immediately whether al- Tikriti was hit. Increasingly, the U.S. military focus was away from the capital. Kurdish troops set off celebrations in Kirkuk when they moved in, and there were hopes that Iraqis would surrender in Mosul, another northern city, on Friday. Nearly IOO miles to the north of Baghdad, U.S. commanders said TikritSee IRAQIS/3A ■ Officials urge residents to remember flag etiquette, Page 7A *    --v    *    *    A*    ‘ * Af - ’ KL JESSIE SLATEN/HeraW-Zeitung Enjoy the beauty of Hill Country Wildflowers along with local wine during the “Wine and Wildflower Trail” event. Wine WiidHowers Fifteen wineries are participating in this weekend's “Wine and Wildflower Trail” celebration. There will be food pairings, new vintage tasting, music, art exhibits, wine seminars and even a hayride. Best of all, ifs a trail where you travel on your own. For information or directions, call 830-868-2321, or check tile Web site, The wineries include: ■ Alamosa Wine Cellars (915-628-313) ■ Becker Vineyards (830-644-2681) ■ Chisholm Trail Winery (830-990-CORK) ■ Comfort Cellars (830-995-3274) ■ Driftwood Vineyard (512-858-4508) ■ Dry Comal Creek Vineyard (210-824-5497) ■ Fall Creek Vineyards (915-379-5361) ■ Flat Creek Estate (512-267-6310) ■ Fredericksburg Winery (830-990-8747) ■ Grape Creek Vineyards (830-664-2710) ■ McReynotdh Wines (830-825-3544) ■ Pillar Bluff Vineyards (512-556-4078) ■ Sister Creek Vineyards (830-324-6704) ■ Sptcewood Vineyard (830-693-5328) ■ Texas Hills Vineyard * (830-868-2321) PMO submitted Rachel Shipley, 21, of New Braunfels, was a contestant on the ABC reality show "The Bachelor," in which women vie for a husband. Wake and smell the wildflowers DAVID INGRAM/tloraki Zeitung Noah Gillis and his mom, Cerise, enjoy the mild weather and the bluebonnets Wednesday afternoon. They took time out from their schedule to do one of Noah’s favorite things — have his picture taken. Hill Country’s in bloom — go enjoy scenery By Sean Bowlin Staff Writer Natural carpet* of color are ^ringing up across central Texas, luring visitors to favorite spot* for a chance to capture the beauty on film. Wildflowers are blooming throughout the Hill Country, and this wakeful is a great time for nature lovers to take a road trip and enjoy the views. Patches of wildflowers can be found alongside most major highways in the area. Or you can participate in one of the annual public celebrations that take place in the region. One lixale is Wildwood Farms Market Center, where the Texas bluebonnet fields are at IOO percent bloom. Under the auspices of the National Garden Bureau, the cen ter is celebrating 2003 as “Year of the Poppy.” ‘The trip in itself to see the building and the fields is well worth it,” said Gary Grasshoff, who was manning the call center. Grasshoff said the public could view huge displays of poppies during the centers annual wildflower celebration. More than 200 acn*s of wildflower varieties are in bloom. Forty pendent of the flowers on the ‘Walking IVaii are in bloom; IO percent of tile red poppies are in bloom; and OO percent of the Drummond phlox are in bloom. Plus, at Wddseed Farms, chuck wagon cooks prepare biscuits. That would continue through the end of April. And the farms will he open Good Friday, Saturday and Easter Sunday (April 18-20). Wildmid Farms Market is located seven miles east of Fredericksburg on U.S. Highway 290. That’s a 90-minute drive from New Braunfels. Its open daily from 9:30 to 6 p.m. In Austin, you can visit the I^ady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center, when; there’s a native botanical photographic exhibit on display until Aug. 16. On May 31 and June I, an Artisan’s Festival is scheduled. Hein-air artists will paint wildscape pictures, and Hill Country artisans come to sell their wares. Ford and live music are provided. Its all part of "Wild flower Days,” which celebrates the (leak bloom season of the bluehon-nets, which is hap|>ening right now. The color palette at the I jidy Bird See WILDFLOWERS/8A ‘Reality TV’ hits home for NB woman By Sean Bowlin Staff Writer A New Braunfels woman who was a participant on ABC’s reality show ‘The Bachelor" said she really didn’t go looking to get married, and the leakers game she went to on a “group date” was the best experience of being on the show. “I wouldn’t say I specifically went looking for a husband. I thought it was just a unique and interesting opportunity. And who knows where you’re going to find true love?” said Rachel Shipley, 21.“ I thought, why not?” Shipley said she lucked out that other participants were wonderful and the atmosphere was like the ideal sorority house. “I was a Chi Omega at Southwest, and I don’t think it was this great,” the New Braunfels Independent School District substitute teacher said. “Everyone was wonderful. AIU’ treated us with the utmost respect and care. Anything we wanted or needed, they got for os. They’re wonderful." Shipley got interested in the show when her mother maneuvered lier into attending an "o|s*n call” for the show last December at South Bark Mall in San Antonio. Her mother, Carle, said she told Rachel there was a new mull in San Antonio and would she like to see it. Once there, she told her daughter about the open call for “The Bachelor.” “Rachel was very comfortable in front of the camera," (’aria said. “And her interview was IOO percent herself it always is." Rachel never thought in a million years that she would get called back. But after she was, they took her tape and mailed it to show’s managers in Los Angeles. Five days later, Shipley was called and told she had to fly up for an in-person interview, which lasted two or three days. Five See REALITY/8A Inside Abby 5A Classifieds 5dR Comics........... 3B Crossword 48 Forum....... BA Movies 5A Obituaries 3A Sports...................... ITB Today............................. ?A TV Grids................... 4B Key Code 76 a ”66126 6600 I " . Homestead exemption forms due by April 30 By Dylan Jimenez Staff Writer Homeowners in Comal (’minty can save at least $5,(KH) in property taxes by applying for a homestead exemption with the Comal Appraisal District. One fr<*e form needs to he filled out for applicants to receive tax exemptions from several different taxing units, such as the* county, cities and school districts. List of exemptions available in Comal County/8A T*xhm law provide** several types of exemptions for homeowners. Fe>r scheiol tax purposes, all homeowners may receive a $15,(XX) general homestead exetnp-tion, and heimeowners disabled or ove*r 65 years of age* receive* an additional $10,(HK) exemption. ()the*r taxing units may also offer a local option c»xe*mption based on a percentage of a home’s appraisal value*. For many ye*ars Comal County has offered tax exemptieins on 20 pe*re:e*nt of homestead appraisal value*s, eir a minimum of $5,(HK). Homestead exemptions vary from one taxing district to another. But only one application ne*eds to be filled out. If a homestead is located in a taxing unit that overlaps into two or more counties, the* homeowner must apply at each county’s appraisal dist rict Curtis Koehler, deputy chief appraiser for the* Comal Appraisal District, said the* process is e*asy. In most cases the* only documentation re*quiml is the* form itself and proof cif age* for the* over 65 exemptions. "Most people that do it are* here* less than five minutes,” Koe*hle*r said. Hornwiwliers can apply in person or by mail. 'Hie* appraisal value*s of qualified home*s stay the* same, hut a percentage eir certain amount is exempted. Any homeeiwner qualifies and all are* encouraged to apply. Chief Appraiser Lynn Ke><lge*rs said in a prt*ss re*le*ase* that a property must mee*t four te*sts tei qualify for homestead exemptiem. ■ ’ITie* applicant must own the probity on Jan. I, 2003, unless the homeowner is applying for the* ove*r 65 homestead exemption. ■ The property must be* desig-nated or adapted for human resi* dance. ■ 'I’he owner must use* the* property as a residence. ■ The property must he the? principal residence of the owner applying for the exemption. A homestead includes a homeowner’s principal residence and yard, up to 20 acres of land and improvements. A property can qualify for the homestead exemption if part of it See EXEMPTIONS/8A ■aaMBBBHBa rni M UM ■ Co workers all have children deployed In Iraq war, Page 4A ;