New Braunfels Herald Zeitung (Newspaper) - December 1, 2005, New Braunfels, Texas
THURSDAY, DECEMBER 1,2005
SPORTS GET DEFENSIVE
Smithson Valley will turn to its defensive live as the Rangers battle for a repeat trip to state. Page 7A
I Dick Morris says unity I among ethnic groups in I Bosnia is an example for I Iraq to follow. Page 6A
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Serving New Braunfels and Comal County since 1852.
Vol. 154, No. 319 14 pages, 2 sections
DEAR ABBY 4B CLASSIFIEDS 4B COMICS 2B CROSSWORD 2B FORUM 6A OBITUARIES 3A SPORTS 7A
Details .... 1B ! TV GRIDS
MMWMW*® - - •' •Firefighter: Lotion led to failed drug test
By Leigh Jones
Fired New Braunfels firefighter Stacie Zercher claims the positive drug test that resulted in her termination was caused hy hemp tanning lotion, not smoking marijuana.
In documents obtained by the I Ierald-Zeitung under the Texas Public Information Act, Zercher told her city hall superiors two
Testing officials say false positive unlikely
brands of lotion, I lempz Cannibis Sativa and Iloss’ Hemp Cool Moon, raised tile level of cannabi-noids in her blood enough to trigger the positive test result.
On Nov. 18, Zercher told Fire Chief fohn Herber in a brief, handwritten statement that she
began using the products three years ago when she purchased a tanning bed. She claims to have used the product approximately three times a month since then.
Zercher, who has said she does not smoke marijuana, told I ler-
ber the lotions were the only thing that could have caused her positive drug test.
fohn Flanagan, the city’s fire department medical director, agrees.
In a letter e-mailed to Herber on Nov. 20, Flanagan claimed the
problems with legal hemp products and drug tests were well documented.
"I find that it is well reported that the use of the legal hemp or Cannabis Sativa products may result in a false positive urine toxicology screen,” he wrote, going on to note that several governmental agencies warn their
See TEST, Page 5A
Division Chief Stacie Zercher
Bush: We will stay in Iraq until enemy is defeated
By Deb Riechmann
Associated Press Writer
ANNAPOLIS, Md. — I LEARN MORE President Bush gave an I ■ Congres-unfiinching defense of I sman Lamar his war strategy on I ba^ss war
Wednesday, refusing to j been success-set a timetable for U.S. I ful, see Page troop withdrawals and I 4A. asserting that once-shak^ Iraqi troops are proving increasingly capable. Democrats dismissed his words as a stay-the-course speech with no real strategy for success.
Bush recalled that some Iraqi security forces once ran from battle, and he said their performance “is still uneven in some parts.” But he also said improvements have been made in training and Iraqi units are growing more independent and controlling more territory.
See IRAQ, Page 3A
The holiday season in New Braunfels continues during Wassailfest tonight.Council supports plan to repair South Tributary
By Leigh Jones
New Braunfels City Council members voiced support Wednesday for modifications to the Sou til Tributary that would take 183 homes out of the floodplain.
After listening to a presentation from project consultant Halff Associates during a special workshop meeting, members agreed to proceed with the plan to widen the tributary channel between FM 725 and Pah-meyer Road.
Council was less enthusiastic about paying for a 35-acre detention basin upstream of County Line Road because it would have a much smaller impact on the number of properties in the floodplain.
Halff Associates estimated both projects would cost roughly $3.5 million each.
Members Valerie Hull and Ken Valentine suggested the detention basin, which would remove only 54 properties from the floodplain, be last on the total project construction
See TRIBUTARY, Page 4A
Downtown businesses serve it up during Wassailfest
By Jessica Sanders
Leaded or unleaded? That will be the question for many New Braunfels business owners and patrons during tonight’s Wassailfest.
Downtown businesses will choose between serving alcoholic or non-alcoholic was
sail, which are referred to as leaded or unleaded. Many participants serve both versions of the Christmas punch.
“For those who chose to serve leaded, we ask that they check ID to make sure everyone’s of age,” Main Street Manager Ian Soecht-ing said.
Officials will be on each
block to make sure wassail is being served in a safe and legal manner, she said.
Lisa Schraub, owner of Tobacco Halts, said she proudly serves only leaded wassail to the visitors who pack her store. She said her store’s wassail is a longtime tradition and a favorite with customers.
“We’ll have about 2,000 people through here because my wassail is the best, no matter what anyone else says,” she said. “Mine is one part wine to four parts cider; it won’t knock you out.”
Jean Spriggs, manager of tile UPS Store, is taking a very
See WASSAIL Page 3A
IF YOU GO
■ What: Wassailfest — Free wassail, music, door prizes and more.
■ When: 6 p.m. today
■ Where: Downtown New Braunfels
By Ron Maloney
CANYON I AKE — A 68-year-old San Antonio man was missing and presumed drowned Wednesday in a sailing accident on Canyon I .ake.
Information was sketchy late Wednesday afternoon, but Canyon I *ke Fire/EMS 11. Jeff Schultz said the victim, Gerard John Celitan, went missing a short time after leaving the Canyon Lake Yacht Club with his wife, Barbara, on a sailing outing.
According to public safety officials, he was not wearing a life jacket.
“It seems there was some malfunction with the mast and the husband got knocked overboard,” Schultz said. “She attempted to rescue him and throw him a vest but was unsuccessful. She called 911 but was unsure of where she was.”
T he emergency call went out at about noon Wednesday, and Canyon Lake firefighters dispatched three emergency medical crews because it was unclear where the woman was. The wind and 3-foot whitecapped waves pushed the sailboat toward the north shore of the lake.
“The wife did not know how to sail,” Schultz said.
Ranger Judy Scott with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers said the Corps, the parks service and a third boat of authorities searched for Celitan but were unable to locate him.
“Everybody was looking for him,” Scott said. “T here were three boats, two helicopters, and we looked from shore.”
Scott said that if Celitan had been able to stay afloat, the winds would have blown him ashore fairly quickly.
No one at the scene knew the water temperature, but all said it
was very cold.
A Canyon Lake Fire/EMS rescue crew picked up a boat at Canyon Lake Marina and set out onto the lake, .Schultz said, locating the woman and towing the Celitans’ boat to the marina.
The South I lays County Volunteer Fire Department’s San Marcos Area Recovery ream (SMART) was dispatched, arriving at the marina just after I p.m. to interview the victim’s wife.
Rescuers were unsure, but they believed the accident occurred off Comal Park, said SMART Commander John Moseley. SMART brought tile woman back onto the water to see if she could help identify the location where she had last seen her husband, but she was uncertain, Moseley said, adding that such uncertainty was not at all unusual in boating accidents.
“Once you get out on the water, it’s not like you were standing right next to this tree or that rock," he said.
SMART Dive ream Commander Dan Misiaszek said the wind and water conditions as well as die size of the search area precluded putting divers into the water Wednesday.
“We’re going to run the dogs,” See DROWNING, Page 5A
TRAGEDY ON THE LAKE
Man presumed drowned after falling from sailboat
Photos by MANDY REARYHerald-Zeitung
Dave Smith drives a San Marcos Area Recovery Team boat past sailboats docked at the Canyon Lake Marina Wednesday afternoon as recovery workers prepared to search for Gerard John Celitan. Below, SMART members Jason Hedrick, right, and Kevin Roles prepare to take rescue dog "Bok" out to search for Celitan after he fell out of his sailboat.www.beheardblog.com