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  • Location: New Braunfels, Texas
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New Braunfels Herald Zeitung (Newspaper) - December 22, 2009, New Braunfels, Texas TUESDAY, DECEMBER 22,2009 Zeitung S^iyMj^®^ Comal County since 1852. VOM67 NO.M. ^.................j........IpiH......foEARABBY......11 16 pages, 1 s^^ 1 B 7 i cussiheds u CLICK 9O0 i COMICS 10 CROSSWORD 10 FORUM 4 OBITUARIES 1 SPORTS 6 TV GRIDS 11 Pt. cloudy High Low 71 58 Details ____13Local Green Santa delivers ^Christmas Hope'By Bryan Shoftig The Herald-Zeitung Small pink and blue children's bicycles lined the main hallway of the Comal County Sheriff's Office Monday. Nearby were large gifts wrapped and marked with the names of fjunilies receiving Christmas presents from Operation Green Santa yesterday and today Underprivileged fieunilies who might not have been able to afford gifts for their children got a chance for a happy holiday yesterday thanks to helpMOMi ^^TS Partnts may call tha Family Ufa Cantar to find out about toys laftovar fr(Mn tha Graan Sanui program. Call (830) 625-7100. fiiom the Sheriff's Office. "I'm so happy and grateful they did this for my son." said Christina Wsdker, a Spring Branch resident. "He's going to have a good Christmas." Green Santa gave out gifts at about $50 a child to 155 children in Comal County this year, compared to about 75 children in 2008 and at about $25 a child for gifts. The extra money this year came from multiple donors, including money raised at the First Annual TXirkey Thit on Thanksghing Day, said Frances Thomas, executive secretary of the Comal County Sheriff s Office. "Had it not been for everyone that helped, 1 don't know if we could have done it," Thomas said. "1 think everyone wiU be happier this year." To qualify for gifts, families applied to different outlets including the Sahra-tion Army and Communities in See SANTA, Page 13 Tabbatha Cuellar, center, receives a gift card to Cooper's (jid Time Pit Bar-b-que while picking up Christmas gifts for her children Monday at the Comal County Sheriff's Office during Operation Green Santa. LAURA Mckenzie Herald-ZeitungCELEBRATING A CENTURY CHARLES AQAR/Herald-Zeitung Victor Fritze celebrated his 100th birthday at Eden Hill Communities on Monday. New Braunfels resident, WWII veteran Victor Fritze turns 100 todayBy Chartes Agar The Herald-Zeitung When Victor Fritze woke up this morning, he had been on this earth for a century. Today is his 100th birthday. He celebrated Monday with fnends and family at Eden Hill Communities in New Braunfels. "I feel fine," Fritze said with a smile and a shrug when asked about the big day. He lives independentiy in a cottage at EdenHill and enjoys taking r^ular walks and playing bridge. A native of San Antonio, Fritze graduated from Texas A&M in 1931, worked for the state highway department and served in the Navy during Worid War II, attaining the rank of lieutenant. After the war, Fritze was a civilian civil engineer at Fort Sam Houston. He and his wife, Dorothy, raised two children and were married 62 years before she passed away. Fritze's three grandchildren and six. of seven great-grandchildren traveled from Houston, Ohio and Colorado to be there Monday. His granddaughter, Sharon Anderson of Houston, said Fritze's longevity might have to do with her grandfather's love of games such as bridge and cribbage. Or maybe it was Blue BeU Ice Cream, she said, which Anderson remembers her grandfather always had on hand and which Eden- Hill staff served along with the birthday cake Monday. But longevity is also in the Fritze genes. Victor Fritze's mother, whose patemal grandfather emigrated from Germany to New Braunfels in 1845, also lived to be more than 100 years old. There was a slideshow Monday of photos from Fritze's childhood, war years and hunting trips. Also on display were letters of congratulations from U.S. Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison, Texas Sen. lohn Comyn and Rep. Doug Miller. Members of the Peace Lutheran Church in New Braunfels held a party for Fritze on Sunday with more than 150 in attendance.Saving on insurance Changes in town flood ordinance could spare homeowners thousandsBy Chris Cobb The Herald-Zeitung I^ecent changes to the City of New Braunfels' flood ordinance could save residents money on insurance premiums. The New Braunfels City Council voted this past week to make some changes to the ordinance, which included raising the base elevation required to start building in a flood-prone area. City building officials said the updated rules could eventually translate into thousands of dollars in flood insurance savings. The changes are needed to help the city qualify for the Community Ratings System (CRS), a program that evaluates how cities monitor their floodplains, according to building official Robert Kinsey. If the city earns a high rating, the See FLOOD, Page 13 MORE INSURANCE SAVINGS The city's enforcement of its building codes was rated byttie Insurance Services Office (ISO) in June 2008. The ISO rating scale goes from 1 to 10, with 10 being the worst. The city's building department was rated as a 3 for family dwellings and a 2 for all other construction — far better than the average across Texas and the rest of the country, according to ISO's 2008 evaluation of New Braunfels. The ISO rating saves a person building a new home around $2,500 per year in homeowners insurance, Kinsey said. "We think it's well worth it," he said.$498K grant will fund low-income home repairsBy Chris Cobb The Herald-Zeitung Almost half a million dollars in federal grants came pouring into the City of New Braunfels coffers this week, the bulk of which will go toward making repairs to low-income homes. The U.S. Department of Energy awarded an Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block Grant to the city worth $498,200 — money made available through the American Recovery and Investment Act. The majority, $347,200, will pay for weatherization services through the city's Com munity Development Block Grant program, making repairs to homes to make them more energy efficient and better insulated. The popular city program includes repairing windows, adding weather stripping, replacing insulation and installing new, more energy-efficient appliances. "We always have people on that waiting list, so this could be a big help," said Vicki Brown, die city's intergovernmental services manager. The remainder of the grant will pay to make local traffic lights more energy efficient See GRANT, Page 13Democrats get 60 senators in test vote, push to pass health care reform by ChristmasBy Erica Wmimt Associated Press Writer WASHINGTON—Acrudal, middle-of-the-night test vote behind them, Senate Democrats on Monday remained on track to pass historic health care legi^ation by Christmas, preparing for more votes at o^ hours to overcome unanimous Republican opposition. All 58 Democrats and the Senate's two independents held together early Monday to advance President Barack Obama's health care overhaul, vi^ikii would extend cov«:age to 30 million people now uninsured and try to slow ruinous increases in medical costs. The 60-40 margin was exactb the numbo'iweded to shut down a threatened GOP filibuster. The next vote is expected around 7:20 a.m. EST today. Obama called the vote "a big victory for the American people," and challenged critics who say it will increase, not reduce costs. "For all those who are continually carping about how this is somehow a big spending government bill, this cuts our deficit by $132 billion the first 10 years, and by over a trillion in the second," Obama said. "That argument that opponents are nuddng against this bill does not hold water." Monday's Senate vote came shortly after 1 a.m. with the nation's capital blanketed in snow, the unusual timing made necessary in order to get to a final vote by Christ mas Eve presuming Republicans stretch out the debate as much as the rules allow. The outcome was preordained after Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., wrangled his firactious caucus into iSie over the course of the past several months, culminating in a frenzy of last-minute deals and concessions to win over the final holdouts, ERALD EITLN« oMmrMiCATieNs independent Joe Lieberman of Connecticut and conservative Democrat Ben Nelson of Nebraska. Obama's oft-stated goal of a bipartisan health bill was not met, despite the president's extensive courtship of moderate Sen. Olympia Snowe of Maine, the only Republican to support the bill in committee. ;