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  • Location: New Braunfels, Texas
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New Braunfels Herald Zeitung (Newspaper) - December 1, 2004, New Braunfels, Texas ALL J* m m sS{«r® W.nlMiili'"""'""" WEDNESDAY, DECEMBER 1, 2004 ald-Zeitung SIH WI—IWHW SWEET UIFTS Presents of food, sweets serve as personal expressions of love, creativity. Page IB FORUM LETTERS Readers sound off on war in Iraq, convention center discussions, and recent Reese column. Page 6A Serving New Braunfels and Comal County since 1852. Vol. 154    No.    14    I    WKfKM    I    DEAR ABBY    4B 14 pages, 2 sections j    j    CLASSIFIEDS    5B 500 B«    91    com,cs    38 M    I    CROSSWORD    3B su°nS    I    FORUM    6A High Low    I    OBITUARIES    3A :    SPORTS    7A TV GRIDS    4B WWW? I 8 60 Details 38 ... 2B Pp!Investigators find cause of explosion By Ron Maloney Staff Writer Investigators Tuesday believe they discovered the cause of the explosion that critically injured a couple Sunday afternoon, destroying the home they’d just moved into. Comal County Fire Marshal Lin Manford said the explosion, in which Britton Ware lr. and his wife, Susie Ware, were burned, was caused by a gas shutoff valve behind a clothes dryer. The Wares were flown to Brooke Army Medical Center, where an official said Monday both were in critical condition. Their condition was not available Tuesday. “Investigators with the Texas Railroad Commission and Comal County Fire Marshal’s office have determined the origin of the explosion using physical evidence and burn patterns,” Manford said. “An uncapped shutoff valve located behind the electric clothes dryer was the See EXPLOSION, Page 2A No signs of foul play found in mans death SPECIAL DELIVERY By Ron Maloney Staff Writer A 65-year-old man found dead Monday alongside the Dry Comal Creek was believed to have died of natural causes. Police 11 Jesse Villarreal said Fortunate Villarreal was found by a Union Pacific crew. “Sgt. (Bob) Parchinan got a call that the railroad people were doing their daily line checks and observed what appeared to be a human body down at the creek along the creek bed,” Villarreal said. “Ile had expired ” Police officers called to the scene observed no signs of foul play. The victim, who had been in New Braunfels for more than 25 years, was a baker at Naegelins Bakery. Precinct 3 justice of the Peace Diana Guerrero pronounced him dead at 1:30 p.m., Villarreal said. An autopsy was ordered and is being performed ai the Travis Counts Medical Examiners ()ffice, Villarreal said. ^22E3IiiESi WSM Playoff fever Smithson Valley High School football battles San Antonio Taft in regional finals. ’"nr . *-** • *    :r; ^ I * Trustees approve 3 of Reaves’ goals By Leigh Jones Staff Writer Five weeks after first discussing them, New Braunfels Independent School District trustees finally approved three of Superintendent Hon Reaves’ 2004-05 goals. They could not come to agreement on the fourth goal — creating a customer friendly environment across the district. Trustees agreed district employees needed to be more friendly to parents and members of the public, but they continued to struggle with finding an appropriate way to hold Reaves accountable for the district’s overall customer service altitude. During the next two weeks, hoard members will submit suggestions to Trustee Rob Johnson, who has been charged with creating a list of measurable benchmarks. President Jorge Maldonado said he hoped the board would be able to approve the benchmarks and the See NBI8D, Page 2A Photos by DAVID INGRAM/Herald-Zeitung Sales associate Lisa Hardy helps a customer at the New Braunfels post officeTuesday afternoon. With the arrival of the holiday season, post office lines get longer as customers wait their turn to mail their packages. Post office gets jump start on season By Leigh Jones Staff Writer With a Christmas package in hand, Emily Roosa stood in line at tile New Braunfels post office for 15 minutes during her lunch hour Monday. Sin* was waiting to have her box weighed, stamped and entered in the holiday mailing melee. “It’s a present for my sister in Spain,” Roosa said. “Fin bringing it early to make sure it gets there by Christmas.” Roosas package should be in good shape — the deadline for slapping packages via parcel post to Europe is not ujnil Dec. IO. While Roosa is ahead of the game, most New Braun-felsers wait until next Monday to bring their holiday Customer service supervisor Frank Christensen helps Nancy Peevyhouse with the preparation of a package to be mailed to Hawaii Tuesday afternoon at the self service machine in the lobby ot the New Braunfels post office. shipments to the post office counter. “During the next three Mondays, we will triple the volume of mail we handle,’ said Acting Postmaster Carole Futch. “Expect visits to last a little longer on those days.” Postal workers do what they can to make waiting tolerable, including piping cheery oldies music over the zig-zag line, hut frustrations rise quickly when people have places to go and other shopping to do. I bis year, the post office is offering a new alternative to the wait — the automated postal center. Nancy Peevyhouse bypassed the line of waiting customers and walked right up to the APC in the lobby. Sin* placed her package on the scale, entered the delivery zip code using an on-screen touch pad and selected the delivery method. With the help of Supervisor Frank Christensen, her box See MAIL. Page 2A DIDY0U KNOW? HOLIDAY PACKAGE DEADLINES To ensure packages and cards arrive by Dec. 25, ousel ve these U.S. Postal Service holiday mailing deadlines: ■ Dec. 15 - Parcel post 8 Dec. 20 - First Class El Dec. 22 - Priority Mail Dec. 73 Mail Express ■ Make sure your box is safe to mail — the post office will not accept any packages containing liquor or ha* ardous materials or items packed in old liquor or cleaning supply boxes. ■ Web site: holiday Wassailfest steeped in tradition, history 2004 CHEER FUND Donations are still being accepted for the 2004 Cheer Fund.To donate— ■ Stop by the Herald-Zeitung office at 707 Landa St. between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m., Monday through Friday or mail a check made out to the New Braunfels Herald-Zeitung to Cheer Fund, New Braunfels Herald-Zeitung, 707 Landa St., New Braunfels, 78130, before Dec. 18. By Scott Mahon Staff Writer Conceived as a holiday open house by downtown merchants 11 years ago, Wassailfest has evolved into a community-wide Christmastime reunion. “It was a Main Street project intended to showcase downtown businesses,” said Carol johnson, who has participated in Wassailfest since 1992. “It was coined Wassailfest the first year it began, and almost 5,000 people participated in it. Last year, over 15,000 people attended Wassailfest, so it’s become an incredible event, kind of like a Norman Rockwell homecoming where people see friends they TIME TO CELEBRATE ■ Throughout the ages, "wassail" has been part of Christmas fes tivities. A brief history of the word wassail and recipe are on Page 2A. haven’t seen for a long time.” This year’s Wassailfest begins at 5:30 p.m. Thursday at Main Plaza, and continues until 9 p.m. Downtown merchants will be open and more than 50 wassail stops will be located tliroughoul the downtown district. From 6 to 9 p.m., San Antonio Street will be blocked off from North Market Avenue to South Academy Avenue, and Seguin Avenue will be blocked off from iirTimi ~    mitt    ii- -i • ■ HiiHilMiWimwrW i Ti Mill Street to Coll Street. Mayor Adam Cork, the New Braunfels City Council and theWas-saillest committee will lead a kick off toast. “It s my favorite event of the CJirist-mas season," Cork said. “You see people of all ages who come out to enjoy Wassailfest.” Main Street Manager jai) Soecht-ing said the annual event traditionally kicks off the holiday season. “It s a unique event, and I’m excited the weather is going to cooperate this year,” she said. “And this year we’ve expanded the event one block to include the old city hall building on North Seguin Avenue at Mill Street. See WASSAILFEST, Page 2A ;