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  • Location: New Braunfels, Texas
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New Braunfels Herald Zeitung (Newspaper) - August 14, 2004, New Braunfels, Texas knocked out power to hundreds of thousands of people. The hurricane struck west-central Florida at Charlotte Harbor with a wicked combination of water and wind. A surge of sea water reached up to 15 feet high, the National Hurricane Center said. Winds blew off the roof of a hurricane shelter where 1,200 people had gathered and tore apart small planes at the Charlotte County airport. Two traffic deaths were reported in Florida. Earlier, Charley had been blamed for three deaths in Cuba and one in Jamaica. Gov. Jeb Bush said damage could exceed $15 billion but cautioned it was a preliminary estimate as the storm headed across the center of Florida toward the Orlando area. President Bush declared the storm-battered region a federal disaster area. “Our prayers are with you and your families tonight,” the president said in Seattle. “This is the nightmare scenario that we’ve been talking about for years,” hurricane center Director Max Mayfield said of storm surges that ranged from IO to 15 feet. Charley’s eye reached land at 2:45 p.m. when it passed over the barrier islands See CHARLOT, Page 3A SATURDAY, AUGUST 14, 2004 TFI; SPC TIME Marion, Navarro ta field for scrimmages against other teams after week of intrasquad battles. Page RA FORUM JT WOODALL Columnist says terrorism must not be allowed to influence the course of the nation's next presidential election. Page -Zeitung Serving New Braunfels and Comal County since 1852. By Jill Barton and Allan G. Bread Associated Press Writers r* * Partly cloudy High Low 89 64 Details .... 1B j DEAR ABBY 48 I CLASSIFIEDS 688 { COMICS 38 I CROSSWORD 38 | FORUM 4A I OBITUARIES 3A | SPORTS S-6A I TV GRIDS 48 MARC SEROTA/Reuters Victor Rivera, an employee of Auto Zone Auto Parts store, inspects the damage around the store after Hurricane Charley hit Friday in Port Charlotte, Fla. with winds of 145 mph. PUNTA GORDA, Fla. — A stronger-than-expected Hurricane Charley roared ashore Friday as a dangerous Category 4 storm, slamming the heavily populated Gulf Coast with devastating storm surges and 145 mph wind that snapped trees in half, ripped roofs off buildings and 14 pages, 2 sections CLICK 506 a ,B56825 00001 Bank robbery suspect goes on trial in Austin By Bon Maloney Staff Writer AUSTIN —A 37-year-old Arizona man who faces life in federal prison — and is a suspect in two New Braunfels bank robberies — goes to trial Monday in federal court. Adam E. Martin will defend himself against several federal bank robbery counts when his jury is picked. Opening statements in his trial could begin the same day, according to New Braunfels police Lt. Mike Rust. Martin and his brother, Noel Martin, 28, of Mico, are suspects in the November 2002 and January 2003 robberies of the Surety Bank branch near H-E-B. They were arrested in March 2003 at the md of investigations involving New Braunfels police, the FBI, the Texas Department of Public Safety and several other law enforcement agencies. Martin’s co-defendants have pleaded guilty and are pending sentencing—which is tied to their participation as potential witnesses at Monday’s trial. They are believed involved in a string of Texas bank robberies with two other suspects not charged in connection with the local heists. In the New Braunfels cases, police suspected both robberies were connected because in addition to occurring at the same bank branch, they were done the same way. In both instances, the robber or robbers switched vehicles in the nearby H-E-B parking lot—abandoning the still-running one they left. Bail on each of die Martin brothers was $200,000. Adam Martin is also being held on a “no bail” parole violation warrant out of Arizona. COMING SUNDAY All woik, att play Hundreds of k>ad high school band members sweat on the field and rehearse la the hall Habitat for Humanity plans to double number of homes per year By Bon Maloney Staff Writer With a pending property purchase, Comal County Habitat for Humanity is poised to expand its effort here — and build on a decade worth of good work. Former Habitat President and board member Jerry Sonier — also a former president of the New Braunfels/Canyon Lake Area Association of Realtors — said Habitat, an ecumenical Christian housing organization, will try to double the number of homes it builds each year to four. The new property off West San Antonio Street would enable Habitat for Humanity to build eight more homes, Sonier said. The sale is set to close next week. “We’re right at the point of expanding,” Sonier said. “We want to bring this up a notch." Over IO years, the local Habitat has built IO homes in New Braunfels and Canyon Lake. It tries to build one or two homes a year with help from volunteer workers and commercial sponsors such as the Realtors, the Scooter Store or Target. Things got a little slow right after the 1998 flood when much of the community’s volunteer work effort went into restoring housing devastated by the river. “There were a couple years right after the flood when the chapter went dormant while flooded homes were repaired,” he said. Now, Habitat has just dedicated a Katy Street home a local family of five will move into within a couple weeks. It will soon dedicate a new See HABITAT, Page 3A H0WT0 HELP To help Comal County Habitat for Humanity, log on to www comal habitat org. write P O Box 310487 New Braunfels 78131-0487, or call 625-7005 City paid firefighters more than $16,000 extra By Scott Mahon Staff Writer An accounting glitch that caused some New Braunfels firefighters to be overpaid and some underpaid ended with council forgiving $16,695 owed to the city. Chief Finance Officer Jeff Hinson said the glitch resulted from paying firefighters for an average two-week period rather than for actual time. “For some reason, the previous administration had a policy of paying firemen for the average number of hours worked during a two-week shift,” he said. “After we went back and looked at the payroll records, we discovered we had overpaid firemen by about $16,000, although some Firemen were underpaid.” Chief John Herber said the fire department operated three shifts a day. “Firemen work one 24-hour shift every third day,” he said. Throughout the course of a year, one shift amounts to 2.904 actual hours. The second shift also amounts to 2.904 actual hours in one year. The third shift amounts to 2,928 actual hours. Hinson said it had been the policy to pay the average number of hours worked — 2,912 hours — not the actual hours worked. “Overtime hours were being averaged too,” he said. After discovering the glitch, Hinson said the policy was changed. “Beginning January 2004, we started paying Firemen for the actual number of hours worked,” he said. “But we were left being owed $16,000, so I took the matter to council to let them decide what to do.” Mayor Adam Cork said federal law also triggered the discovery. “It had to do with the current interpretation of the Fair Labor Standards Act,” he said. “But council agreed it wouldn’t be appropriate to make the Firemen pay the city back for an error that wasn’t their fault.” Council voted unanimously Monday to forgive the debt. “It would have been an overwhelming task to have figured out which firemen were overpaid and which were underpaid over the last two years,” he said. GBRA volleys in water fight on Bulverde’s behalf By Brandi Grissom Staff Writer BULVERDE — City council Tuesday affirmed Guadalupe-Bianco River Authority’s latest legal efforts to protect the city’s water rights. In late july, GBRA filed intervener status in a federal voting rights case on behalf of itself and Bulverde. The interveners, oppose Bexar Metropolitan Water District’s recent redistricting effort, saying it is another attempt by BexarMet to usurp Bulverde’s water rights. Monday, BexarMet filed a motion in federal court arguing GBRA’s action on the city’s behalf was invalid, because Bulverde city council did not explicitly authorize GBRA to file for the city. Mayor Bill Cole said a December 2003 city council resolution gave GBRA authorization to take all legal steps necessary to protect the city’s water rights. “They misunderstood it, and I’ll leave it at that,” Cole said. See WATER, Page 3A IN OTHER ACTION R Council approved a bid package for a road improvement program presented by Hogan Corporation and requested bids be returned next month. R Council approved a resolution calling for a Nov. 2 election on a $4 million capital improvements program for road work and drainage in the city, lf approved, the bond issue will increase city property taxes by at least 10 cents from the current 14 cents per $100 valuation. DAVID INGRAM/Herald-Zeitung Tammy and Chris Preuss receive an emotional hug from Tammy's mother, Donna Traill, in the living room of their new Habitat for Humanity home on Katy Street Tuesday morning shortly after receiving the keys to the house from the New Braunfels/Canyon Lake Association of Realtors. BUILDING MORE HOPE ;