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New Braunfels Herald Zeitung (Newspaper) - April 12, 2003, New Braunfels, Texas New Braunfels SATURDAY April 12, 2003 16 pages in 2 sections .ppHMp    IO    pages    in    2    sectKHerald-Zeitung ' Vol, 152, No, 128 Serving New Braunfels and Comal County since 1852 SO centsCoalition forces expand control over Iraq Bus ‘roadeo’ practice doubles as instruction By Sean Bowlin Staff Writer Comal Independent School District school bus drivers practiced driving maneuvers Thursday in preparation for a “roadeo.” They tested their driving skills in a parking lot behind school district headquarters and in cul-de-sacs in a formerly flooded neighborhood that the city of New Braunfels had purchased. As part of the workout, Suzy Crandall, the school district’s Hill Country trainer, worked with three trainers and lead drivers. They assisted her, teaching and grading maneuvers as bus drivers dj-ove their long, yellow buses through obstacle courses. One obstacle was “the ser pentine.” Others involved maneuvers like moving the bus forward and backward, a saw park, practicing getting into confined areas and straight-line testing. Crandall also had trainers taking measurements on left-hand turns to give the drivers parameters so they can work on increasing or decreasing clearance on turns. Also, there was a “diminishing alley” where they went from a wide area to an increasingly lestricted area. The drivers were practicing for next month’s regional school bus “roadeo” in Bastrop, But it was also invaluable safety training. Crandall said the district has a full training program for drivers. “It’s year-around. This is a refresher course to help all the drivers always stay up on their maneuvering,” she said. Although designed for all 125 of the district’s bus drivers, just 15 went through the school Thursday. Crandall said that over the course of the month, other drivers would take the course — some during spring break next week, others on weekends. Besides close maneuvering exercises, the course provides information on student management and how to watch for unpredictable traffic. “We take drivers that have a variety of experience — See BU S/3 A for stiff resistance as they mapped plans for battle in the next several days. Gen. Richard Myers, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said he expected fighting to end soon in Qaim, a town near Iraq’s western border with Syria. “There have been intelligence reports that the leaders ... want to surrender. And so, I think that’s going to be worked out today, tomorrow,” he said. Looting swiftly erupted in Mosul — hospital ambulances were taken at gunpoint — and lawlessness continued to plague Baghdad See FORCES/3A City might hike fees for services to boost revenue By Dylan Jimenez Staff Writer New Braunfels City Council will consider increasing service fees to bring in more income and to reach parity with other towns at Monday night’ regular meeting. The increased fees would mean an additional $125,000 in revenue annually coming out of the Planning and Community Development Department alone. Fire Chief John Herber will ask council to more than double the base rate of EMS service from $225 to $475, which is the average of nearby communities of similar size. New Braunfels Fire and Rescue Department also is looking to increase the EMS mileage charge from $1 to $7 per mile and is increasing many of its charges for medications. The issue has not been addressed in IO years. City Manager Chuck Pinto Other Action In other money action, New Braunfels City Council will: ■ Discuss budget revisions — a public hearing, discussion and action regarding the transfer of funds from the reserve fund to the general fund to help balance the budget; ■ Discuss reduction in force policy — establishing a policy for dealing with staff layoffs; and ■ Discuss accepting bids of more than $200,000. said the increases are all part of a “strategy and review.” He said the city has been planning to make fee increases for more than a year. “We started putting together and reviewing all of our fees,” Pinto said. “We asked ourselves ‘Are we competitive, and are we paying our costs?”’ See FEES/3A Students fare better on TAKS than state average By Sean Bowlin Staff Writer Third-graders in both the New Braunfels and Comal independent school districts did better on the Texas Assessment of Knowledge and Skills (TAKS) test than their peers across the state. Local school district officials shared this week the results of their students with members of the Business and Educational Partnership Committee of the New Braunfels Chamber of Commerce. In the New Braunfels Independent School District, Director of Curriculum and Instruction Dr. Rosalyn Bratcher said: ■ 94 percent of the district’s third-graders passed the TAKS. The state average was 89 percent. ■ 31 percent of the district’s third-graders passed the test at the commended level of 94.9 percent. The state average was 26 percent. Eighteen of the commended third-grade students were Hispanic, and 42 were white. ■ The district tested 93 percent of its third-graders. Across the state, school districts tested on average 90 percent of their third-graders. “My goal is we will test at least 95 percent of all our students,” Bratcher said.See TAKS/3A DAVID INGRAM/Herald-Zeftung Comal ISD Bus Driver Trainer Suzy Crandall (right) discusses with drivers Beverly Garcia and Bob Webber the fundamentals of scoring a good grade on the straight line test. The objective of the test is to have the front tires and rear dual tires pass between tennis balls without knocking one over.Inside Abby.............................. SA Classifieds....................... Comics.......................... 3R Crossword.................... 4R Forum........................... RA Movies.......................... RA Obituaries..................... 3A Sports........................... 1-PR Today............................ PA TV Grids...................... 4R Key Code 76 Kitchen fire causes $60,000 in damage ma.r>i = Hi By Ron Maloney Staff Writer An accidental kitchen fire caused $60,000 worth of damage to a Gardenia Drive home Friday afternoon. New Braunfels Fire Department Battalion Chief Frank Gonzales said the stove, kitchen cabinets and ceiling of the Kurt Lehnoff residence were heavily damaged in the blaze. Smoke damage was spread throughout the home. Police and firefighters were dispatched to the home located in the 1200 block of Gardenia at 1:15 p.m. The first safety official on the scene was a'pol ice officer. “It was going,” the police officer said. “I could see smoke coming out of the roof vents and could hear the fire popping and cracking when I opened the door.” Firefighters controlled the fire in a few minutes, Gon zales said. “It was a heck of a stop. Any more time and it would have been gone,” he said. Investigation revealed that the fire started on the kitchen stove. “It spread to a wicker basket, which ignited the cabinets,” Gonzales said. Tara Brinkkoeter, American Red Cross New Braunfels branch manager, said her agency went out to visit the family Friday afternoon. “We’re going to be putting them up in a hotel if they wish and providing help with food and clothing as well,” she said. By David Espo AP Special Correspondent American troops took the northern city of Mosul without a fight and awaited surrender from holdout forces in western Iraq on Friday, dismantling the remnants of Saddam Hussein’s regime. U.S. officials agreed to stem looting in Baghdad and other areas. In a war nearly won, President Bush said he didn’t know whether the Iraqi ruler was alive or dead. ‘‘I know he’s no longer in power,” Bush added. Mosul, Iraq’s third largest city, fell when an entire Army Corps evaporated, a force of roughly 30,000 on paper but far less in reality. That left Tikrit, Saddam’s hometown, as the biggest population center not under the control of Ameri can-led forces. Iraqi troops there have been battered by airstrikes and don’t present an effective fighting force, U.S. military officials said. They said some troops may have already fled. Warplanes bombed Iraqi forces in the area, and U.S. commanders were planning Photos by K. JESSIE SLATEN/Herald-Zeitung (Above) New Braunfels Fire Department’s Captain Ray Hacker, Inspector Brett Neely and Lt. Scott Koehler (from left) try to determine the cause of a fire that began somewhere in the kitchen in this Gardenia Drive home. (Below) Firefighter Miguel Troncoso (right) and two neighbors help Kurt Lenhoff to the ambulance as a precautionary measure after a fire damaged much of Lenhoff’s home eary Friday afternoon. ;