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  • Location: New Braunfels, Texas
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New Braunfels Herald Zeitung (Newspaper) - December 17, 2005, New Braunfels, Texas AMI**' fait SATURDAY, DECEMBER 17,2005 Zeitung SPORTS JUMP SHOT New Braunfels, Canyon and Smithson Valley boys continue nondistrict hoops play. Page 10A INSIDE TOP PAY County commissioners fund a wage survey to see how county employees fare. Page 3A Serving New Braunfels and Comal County since 1852. Vol. 154, No. 332 20 pages, 2 sections CLICK 500 www> I 56825 00001 .omal Count i** ^0% chance of rain High Low 47 40 Details .... 1B DEAR ABBY    3B CLASSIFIEDS 4B COMICS    2B CROSSWORD 2B FORUM    4A OBITUARIES 3A SPORTS    10A TV GRIDS    3BCreativity helps Bulverde manage growth By David Rupkalvis News Editor BULVERDE — Mixing one of the fastest growth rates in the state with a desire to maintain a rural atmosphere has left Bulverde planners with a dilemma. The reality is that the city will grow as more people realize the town offers an opportunity to live in a community that offers big-city benefits with a smalltown atmosphere. "People want to move here because it’s the Hill Country,” City Planner Chance Sparks said. “You have all the trees and hills, and you still have the proximity to San Antonio and New Braunfels. It seems like it's becoming more and more of a hot spot.” Mayor Sarah Stevick said the influx is primarily due to one rea son — location. “It’s close enough to San Antonio that you can shop there and work there, but it’s far enough away that you come home and have a rural atmosphere,” Stevick said. “(My family) moved here when we were stationed at Fort Sam (Houston).” As the city grows, one of the challenges facing planners and the Bulverde City Council is how to maintain the rural atmosphere that makes the western Comal County town unique. Sparks said Bulverde already has taken some steps to maintain its rural feel, pointing out that the minimum lot size in the city is 20,000 square feet, or approximately half an acre. In most cities, including San Antonio and New Braunfels, minimum lot sizes range from 6,000 to 8,000 square feet. Stevick said the large lot size is beneficial when trying to maintain the city’s rural feel, but Bulverde made the law three or four years ago with something else in mind. “It was not necessarily for development — the reason was water,” Stevick said. “It was how See GROWTH, Page 3A Mayor Sarah Stevick By Leigh Jones Staff Writer Bear hunting season ended Friday in New Braunfels when more than 2,000 of the furry critters were herded into trucks and hauled off to new homes all over town. The round-up was a relief to the office staff of Coldwell Banker D’Ann Harper, Realtors, who had been sharing every nook and cranny of their work space with the stuffed animals for several weeks. The animals began their day in a big bear pile, and other than a few involuntary cries from the ones with built-in squeakers, no one seemed to mind too much. Hunter and local real estate agent Marc Rhodes brought a pop gun to the bear cave, at Bluebonnet Dodge, but colleague and hunt organizer Shelia Antenen waved him off. With no regard for her own personal safety, she dove right into the middle of the pile and began the daunting task of counting and sorting the wayward furies by categories. “Its going to be a long day,” she said, watching several of her coworkers return to the cave with bags full of bears. Every stuffed animal donated will receive a new home under someone’s Christmas tree. The previously-unloved animals were sent to Hospice and Blue Santa. The gently-loved bears went to the Crisis Center of Comal County and the Children’s Shelter. Even the toys that were less gently loved will find a new home at the animal shelter, providing hours of entertainment for puppies waiting for their own new homes. The Coldwell Banker agents spent weeks collecting the stuffed animals, turning the holiday drive into an opportunity to broker a little competition. "There was a little trash talking,” Antenen admitted with a laugh. “Just things like, ‘I’m going to bring See BEARS, Page 8A Fired firefighter presents her case to city’s grievance panel By Leigh Jones Staff Writer Fired Firefighter Stacie Zercher presented her case to five of her former colleagues Friday in hopes they would support her bid for reinstatement. Zercher and her attorney Matt Kyle pleaded her cause before a grievance hearing panel that included City Secretary Michael Resendez, Parks and Recreation Department Director Stacie Uiird, City Engineer Mike Short, Library Director Louise Foster and Fire Department Battalion Chief Steve Mabe, the employee selected by Zercher to participate in the hearing. Resendez said after the group heard the case, they would decide what to recommend See GRIEVANCE, Page 3A Stacie ZercherHandmade ornaments, decorations light up Christmas season Childrens center made a difference when hurricane hit By Leigh Jones Staff Writer A HUNT FROM THE HEART Realtors go on the prowl to help local children Coldwell Banker real estate agents Shelia Antenen, left, and Marc Rhodes dive right in to sort through the more than 2,000 stuffed animals that they and other agents were able to hunt down to donate to local organizations and children. Below, a friendly note accompanies some of the bears. Christmas tidings Thanks to donors and volunteers to many organizations, it will be a very Merry “I started making my own wreaths. Wed go out into the woods, get pine cones, burls and cedar and put them on a single clothes hanger,” she said. “We didn’t have hot glue guns then. You had to make things work on your own.” By the time she had her children, she was into decorating the home for their holidays. And she still has the ChrisUnas stockings she made for her children more than 50 years ago and displays them in their carefully packed, brand-new condition. “That’s Zero’s first stocking right there," Rivers said. “Of course, he was ‘George’ to me then, but he’s ‘Zero’ to everyone today." “And this — he gave this to me when he was 3,” she said, pointing to a See DECORATIONS, Page 9A CANYON LAKE — The staff and patients at New Life Children’s Center know what it feels like to be displaced by Mother Nature. In July 2002, the center was almost completely wiped out by fioodwaters that displaced the girls and left a mess of water damage and mud behind. So when their sister facility in Katy fled West on Interstate IO in advance of Hurricane Rita, New Life opened its doors willingly- “It was good tor this facility to be able to give back," said Kurt Senske, chief executive officer for Lutheran Social Services, the organization that runs New Life. “We learned a lot after the 2002 flood, and we were able to put it to good use here." On Friday, Senske and New Life CEO Gary' Henry received a reward for their efforts during die hurricane evacuation — $10,000 from St. I bike’s iAitheran Health Ministries to See CENTER, Page 8A Harriet Rivers puts the finishing touches on one of many Christmas trees inside her home. By Ron Maloney Staff Writer It’s Christmastime at I larriet Rivers’ house. Walk through the front door and, everywhere one looks, it s Currier and Ives, Charles Dickens and a little bit of the legend of St. Nicholaus all rolled together. Rivers made most of it herself— and it’s only taken about 60 years. “I just enjoy doing this,” Rivers said, giving a tour and pointing to this or that ornament or decoration and telling how it was made. “I don’t do it because I have to. I do it because I want to: Because I enjoy iC An avid crafter, landscape painter and mother of four, Rivers began making decorations as a young girl growing up in the Charleston, S.C. area. ;