New Braunfels Herald Zeitung (Newspaper) - December 7, 2005, New Braunfels, Texas
WEDNESDAY, DECEMBER 7,2005
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SPORTS RANGERS ROLL
The Smithson Valley boys basketball team overcomes an early deficit to defeat Kerrville-Tivy. Page 8A
CANYON LAKE A LITTLE HELP
Canyon Lake Fire/EMS begins its annual membership drive by mailing 18,000 letters. Page 5A
Serving New Braunfels and Comal County since 1852.
Vol. 154, No. 323 28 pages, 2 sections
o0% chance of rain
Details .... 2B
DEAR ABBY 4B CLASSIFIEDS 6B COMICS 3B CROSSWORD 3B FORUM 4A OBITUARIES 3A SPORTS 9A TV GRIDS 4B
,DPS: Charges likely in death of student
By Ron Maloney and Jessica Sanders
The Smithson Valley Middle School student struck Friday as he exited a school bus died of his injuries Monday at a San Antonio hospital.
Department of Public Safety Trooper Rick Alvarez reported Monday night that Ryan
Comal ISD mourns loss of friend, classmate
Matthew Padilla, 12, was pronounced dead at 4:37 p.m. at University Hospital.
“This is a sad day in the Comal (Independent School District),” said Superintendent Marc Walker. “We have been working with
the family, counseling students and trying to come to grips with this senseless accident and, now, loss. Ryan was part of the Comal ISD family.”
Nancy Williams, a member of the CISD’s Trauma Response
Team, said a counseling center was set up for students Monday and Tuesday in the SVMS library.
A separate center was set up for the more than 40 high school and middle school students who were on the bus and saw the
accident, she said. In all, IO to 15 counselors participated.
“We saw probably IOO students today,” Williams said. “We had a lot of group and individual counseling sessions for students who came. The students are also making a memory book for the family.”
See MOURNS, Page 3AGift drive needs help to make Christmas special
By Ron Maloney
For more than 300 children in IOO needy local families, the closest thing to Santa Claus they’re going to see this Christmas will be a man wearing the uniform of a New Braunfels police officer.
David Dean has announced that police officers and members of the Citizens Police Academy Alumni Association need the help of people willing to purchase toys and clothing for “Blue Santa,” the New Braunfels Police Department’s annual holiday gift drive — or who are willing to donate money so police can
buy die gifts themselves.
“Blue Santa,” started by now-retired New Braunfels Police Chief Ray Douglas and his wife, Chris, who is executive director of Communities In Schools, is a program where people buy gifts that are passed on through the association and police officers to some of the city’s neediest families.
Dean, chair of this year’s “Blue Santa” drive, said the drive is off to a slow start with only 13 percent of its more than 1,200 gifts purchased and the deadline for donations — Sunday — just days away.
“Its really slow, and we’re very concerned,” Dean said.
With Christmas falling on a Sunday this year, officers will deliver the gifts Dec. 17, Dean said. Already, officers, alumni and their families are working nights and weekends, sorting, wrapping and boxing gifts.
“I know it’s natural to wait until the last minute, but we have to have time to prepare and wrap the gifts," Dean said. “If they don’t come in beforehand, it really puts a burden on our volunteers. If you think this is something
See SANTA, Page 7 A
■The Blue Santa program needs cash donations to buy gifts for needy New Braunfels children. Mail checks to Blue Santa, c/o the New Braunfels Police Department, 1488 S. Seguin Ave., New Braunfels, 78130.
■ Help out by picking up a Blue Santa, buy the gift listed on it and turn it in at a Blue Santa drop box located at Wal-Mart, Famous Footwear, Kohl's, H E B, city hall, Coleman Industries, The Scooter Store, Home Depot Call Center, or the New Braunfels Police Department.The deadline for returning the gifts is Sunday. They will be delivered to local families Dec. 17.
■ For information, call the New Braunfels Police Department at 608-2179.
Firefighter gets grievance hearing over drug test
By Leigh Jones
Stacie Zercher has formally requested a grievance hearing before a panel of her peers in hopes they will reinstate her as the city’s highest ranking female firefighter.
Zercher’s attorney Matt Kyle confirmed he had submitted the request Tuesday.
He also confirmed an independent drug test Zercher took last week came back neg
ative for Tetra! lydro-Cannabinol (THC), die chemical component of marijuana.
The drug test Zercher took Nov. 15 after a minor traffic accident in the city hall parking lot indi-cated she had 87 nanograms per milliliter of THC in her urine and resulted in her immediate termination after 18 years of employment with
the city of New Braunfels.
Zercher claimed the THC entered her system after she used two brands of indoor tanning lotion that contained hemp, a plant similar to marijuana but does not contain high levels of THC. Although the city has 20 days to respond to Zercher’s request for die grievance hear-
ing, interim City Manager Marcus Jahns said Tuesday he already had granted her wish. A date for the hearing has yet to be set, he said.
Jahns also told the Herald-Zeitung he had asked the Bexar County Medical Examiner’s Office to test die tanning lotion to determine whether or not it could have been a factor in the positive drug test as Zercher has claimed.
See GRIEVANCE, Page 3A
Water woes alarm Bulverde residents
By Jessica Sanders
BULVERDE—Water in the Bulverde I fills subdivision is contaminated, but those providing the water say it is not an immediate danger to residents.
Bexar Metropolitan Water District officials met with residents of Bulverde I fills during a specially called Bulverde City Council meeting Monday. The district sent a letter to more than 300 residents after water pumped to the area was found to exceed the maximum levels for tri-halomethane.
The contaminated water originated from a treatment plant operated by Canyon Lake Water Supply Corp. CLWSC then sold the treated water to Bexar Met for use in Bulverde I fills.
CLWSC spokesman Robert Case said they have been monitoring the situation since 2004, when new regulations required them to limit trihalomethane levels. T hey test the water in different locations four times a year, he said.
Case said a high level of debris in the lake caused tri-
Trihalomethane levels for the Bulverde area provided by Canyon Lake Water Supply Corp. The legal level is 80 parts per billion.
3rd, 2004 136.4
4th, 2004 128
1st, 2005 98.4
3rd, 2005 72.6
halomethane levels to spike during the second quarter in 2004. CLWSC began to notify customers during the third quarter.
“We sent out a total of tliree letters to our customers and to Bexar Met,” he said. “Bexar Met was flushing their pipes and doing everything they could to keep levels down, but they had to notify them recently when their fourth quarter hit.”
Case said Bexar Met received copies of the three letters, but did not notify residents until they had Finished 12 months of their own testing. Though they are not required to notify residents until the 12-month period is over, he said, Bexar Met
See WATER, Page 6A
Freezing rain a possibility when arctic blast hits today
From Staff Reports
Dreams of snow Hurries probably will not come true for Comal County residents this week, according to the National Weather Service.
NWS meteorologist Bill Runyon said there is a chance of freezing rain Wednesday night and Thursday morning. However, snow will stay farther in West Texas and the Panhandle.
“Wednesday, we’re looking for the temperatures to drop, the winds to pick up, and the rain chance will increase to 70 percent,” he said. “Thursday morning, if there’s any ice that accumulates on the road, drivers will need to use
Runyon said if there is ice on the road, drivers should leave early and give themselves plenty of time to get to their destination. I Ie suggested they stay off roads altogether, if possible.
The NWS forecasts highs in the 40s for Wednesday and Thursday, in the mid-50s by Friday and the low to mid-60s by Saturday.
The last recorded snow in New Braunfels was Dec. 24, 2004. Though snow isn t expected this week, Runyon said the New Braunfels area will not see warm weather anytime soon.
“We’re in for a little cold snap,” he said.
Ryan PadillaSANTA IS IN NEED
New Braunfels Police Lf. Mike Rutherford, left, and and Blue Santa Chairman David Dean wrap presents for delivery to area children Dec. 17. The Blue Santa program needs help providing toys to the children.
Fight for a championship
The Smithson Valley football team travels to Houston to meet Katy in a battle for a berth in the state championship game.www.beheardblog.com