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View Sample Pages : New Braunfels Herald Zeitung, December 21, 2005

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New Braunfels Herald Zeitung (Newspaper) - December 21, 2005, New Braunfels, Texas WEDNESDAY, DECEMBER 21,2005 SS"”MfttC78“ &LTI* ll nS? I* '•'"il'liililnll,,,,,!!,,,!,!! ■MHWMN SPORTS HEAD TO HEAD New Braunfels and Canyon face off as the crosstown rivalry hits the basketball court. Page 10A IIUIYV INSIDE TRY AGAIN Congressman Lamar Smith announces he will run for another term representing Texas. Page 4A Serving New Braunfels and Comal County since 1852. Vol. 154, No. 335 18 pages, 2 sections C K soc www: j '56825 00001' Mostly Sunny High Low 64 35 Details .... 2B DEAR ABBY 4B CLASSIFIEDS 6B COMICS    3B CROSSWORD 3B FORUM    6A OBITUARIES 3A SPORTS 10A TV GRIDS 4BFired firefighter still might get job back By Leigh Jones Staff Writer Stacie Zercher will get her New Braunfels Fire Department job back if she can pass a polygraph test indicating she has never used marijuana. Zercher’s second chance came Tuesday from Interim City Manager Marcus Jahns, who decided her case involved too many questions to end with her termination. “After looking at all of the information, I think (the polygraph) is a fair and reasonable way to resolve this,” he said. “It’s a good way to get to the bottom of this issue.” The “lie detector” test was recommended by the grievance hearing panel that heard Zercher’s case Friday. According to a memo sent to Jahns by City Secretary and panel chair Michael Resendez, the panel came up with the solution after almost 4-1/2 hours of testimony and deliberation. The panel included Resendez, Parks and Recreation Department Director Stacie I^aird, 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. The group also recommended Zercher get all of her demands if she passes the test — reinstatement to her position as division chief, full restoration of benefits and retirement tenure, back pay from the date of her Nov. 22 termination and removal of the drug test results from her personnel file. Zercher’s attorney Matt Kyle said his client has no problem taking the test. “Stacie Zercher has no hesitation at all in providing a polygraph See ZERCHER, Page 4A Stacie Zercher THE GIFT OF LIFE NB church works to give Haitian girl a chance at life CL Water taking steps to alleviate trihalomethane contamination By David Rupkalvis News Editor See WATER. Page 7A Christmas lights Christmas lights and decorations Kelp community prepare for special day. Christmas should be a special day at local churches By Leigh Jones Staff Writer Nina Guinn was drawn to You-veline Pervalous as soon as she saw the young girl sitting in the front yard of her home in Haiti. Pervalous was in a very straight-hacked chair, struggling to breathe. “She was slowly suffocating,” Guinn recalled. “She was barely able to walk at that point. She probably had only a few more months to live.” Pervalous was suffering from mitral valve stenosis, a heart condition that prevented her mitral valve from opening as wide as it should, leaving her short of breath and constantly fatigued. Although a Haitian doctor had diagnosed her condition, her family did not have the money to pay for the expensive valve-replacement operation. All they could do was watch their vibrant 14-year-old grow weaker and weaker. “It just broke everyone’s heart," said Guinn, who was part of a missionary team from New Braunfels’ Oakwood Baptist Church that makes regular trips to the impoverished Caribbean country. “When we left, we all knew we had to do something to help her.” Almost as soon as they touched down in Texas, the team members began working on a plan to bring Pervalous to the United States to receive the medical care that would save her life. Several people approached John Calhoon and jorge Salazar, surgeons at San Antonio’s Christus Santa Rosa Children’s Hospital, who agreed to perform the tricky operation. Guinn’s husband Joe, a lobbyist for the health-care industry, persuaded supplier Med-itronic to donate the valve. And DAVID INGRAM/Herald-Zeitung Sarabeth, left, and Nina Guinn look on as Meg Merzilus, right, helps Youveline Pervalous open her presents as they and other members of Oakwood Baptist Church help her celebrate her 15th birthday recently. Pervalous came to Texas to undergo surgery for a heart condition that left her fatigued and kept her from sleeping lying down. Bottom left, children visit a nutrition clinic built by Oakwood missionaries. Bottom right, pedestrians walk down a street in Haiti. See GIFT, Page 8A Photos courtesy of Nina Guinn Despite criticism, Cheney calls for expanded presidential powers CANYON LAKE — Problems with trihalomethane could be short-lived for users of Canyon lake Water Supply Corp. water. CLWSC spokesman Robert Case said earlier this month that the utility began treating its water differently, and in the process reduced the amount of chlorine being used in the treatment process. Trihalomethane is a byproduct formed when chlorine comes into contact with organic matter. By reducing the chlorine, the levels of trihalomethane also will be reduced, Case said. Since Dec. 8, water in the CLWSC system has been treated with a chlorine dioxide system. Case said the system will reduce the amount of chlorine used the treatment process while still cleaning the water. CLWSC had planned for more than a By Jessica Sanders Staff Writer Piles of presents are not expected to keep Comal County churchgoers from services on Christmas Day. Various congregations all over the county will be holding services on Christmas, which this year falls on a Sunday. Though most churches will have packed pews on Christmas Eve, Christmas Day services are harder to predict. “We expect a big crowd for Christmas Eve, and we’re hoping for a good showing Christmas Day,” said Pastor Don braker of Cross Lutheran Church in New Braunfels. “We really don’t know what to expect.” T his year, Cross Lutheran will hold two Christmas Eve services at 5 and 7 p.m. and only one IO a.m. service on Christmas Day. First Protestant Church of New Braunfels is following a similar schedule, holding Christmas Day services only at 10:30 a.m. The church will hold a traditional candlelight service at 5:30,7:30 and 11 p.m. on Christmas Eve. Senior Pastor Daryl I liggins By Deb Riechmann Associated Press Writer WASHINGTON (AP) — Vice President Dick Cheney on Tuesday called for "strong and robust” presidential powers, saying executive authority was eroded during the Watergate and Vietnam eras. Some lawmakers objected that President Bush’s decision to spy on Americans to foil terrorists showed he was flexing more mus cle than the Constitution allows. The revelations of Bush’s four-year-old order approving domestic surveillance without court warrants has spurred a fiery debate over the balance of power between the White House, Congress and the judiciary. “I believe in a strong, robust executive authority and I think that the world we live in demands it,” Cheney said. “I would argue that the actions that we’ve taken there are totally appropriate and consistent with the constitutional authority of the president.... You know, it’s not an accident that we haven’t been hit in four years,” the vice president said, speaking with reporters on Air Force T\vo en route from Pakistan to Oman. On Capitol Hill, senators from both parties said the role of Congress cannot be sidelined — even in wartime. “I think the vice president ought to reread the Constitution,” said Sen. Edward Kennedy, D-Mass. Democrats said they were deeply troubled by the surveillance program, and contended tile president had no authority to approve it. “I Ie has no legal basis for spying on Americans without court approval," said Sen. Richard Durbin of Illinois, the No. 2 Democrat in the Senate. See POWERS, Page 7A See CHURCHES, Page 8A ■MMMMMMK ;