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New Braunfels Herald Zeitung (Newspaper) - December 23, 1999, New Braunfels, Texas New (ride^uNFELSHerald-Zeitung u ■■■     ...... Vol. 149, No. 25    18    pages    in    2    sections    December    23,    1999 Thursday Serving Comal County since 1852 50 cents New Braunfels High School J ROIC member Yvonne Moreno helps 6-year-old Liliana Serrano unwrap a Christmas present delivered Wednesday by the Toys for Tots program. WAI Ll/Herald-Zeitung Santa’s helpers deliver 2,000 toys By Heather Todd Staff Writer Santa Claus is coming to town Friday night, but some of his elves made a few early stops this week. Hundreds of local children will have a brightly colored package or toy to open Christmas morning thanks to the generosity of the local community and some hard-working Santa’s helpers. Students with the New Braunfels Marine Corps Junior Reserve Officers Training Corps collected and delivered about 2,000 toys to children in the area this week as part of the annual Toys for Tots program. Master Sgt. John Medrano, a JROTC instructor at NBHS, said it was the largest donation since he began coordinating the local Toys for Tots drive in 1997. Toys for Tots was started by the Marine Corps Reserve in 1947. The national program delivered 11 million toys to nearly five million children in 1998. Medrano said several local businesses, including Wal-Mart, Don Maxwell Chevrolet, Target and Kono’s Sports Bar and Club, donated hundred of toys to make the 1999 donation drive the best year ever. “Toys for Tots is alive and well in New Braunfels,” Medrano said. “We’ve helped a lot of kids, and the students have come together to make this work.” Medrano said Don Maxwell Chevrolet See TOYS/3 ALawmen offer driving tips for holiday By Erin Magruder Staff Writer As many as 30 people could die on Texas roadways during the 54-hour Christmas holiday, the Texas Department of Public Safety reported. Residents who plan on hitting the open road this weekend can follow a few simple tips to make their journeys as safe as possible, local law enforcement officials *aid. Although the holiday gridlock cannot always be avoided, motorists can save themselves some frustration by leaving about 30 minutes early for their destination, New Braunfels Police Lt. John Wommack said. Serious accidents during the holiday season often are caused by drivers who are in a hurry or ill-prepared for the congestion on the roadways, he said. Drivers should slow down, closely observe other vehicles and increase following distance to allow for the extra holiday traffic, he said. Comal County Sheriff’s Lt. Ed Whitson said travelers also should be aware of construction on some of the major roadways and always abide by the posted speed limit. Drivers planning on taking Interstate 35 should watch for highway crews working between Solms Road and Loop 337 exits where the posted speed limit is 55 miles per hour. U.S. 281 also is under construction where crews are building an overpass at Farm-to-Mar-ket Road 1863. Also, northbound and southbound construction on 1-35 frontage roads might cause traffic to slow unexpectedly. Drivers, beware — speeding in See TRAFFIC/5A traffic Driving Tips Preventive maintenance is the best way to avoid problems: • Check all fluids regularly; pay attention to battery and radiator fluids in extreme weather. • Check for leaks. Any leak with a petroleum look or smell or water with a green or pink color is a sign that trouble is on its way. • Check tires (including the spare), windshield wipers and safety belts for abnormal wear. Check tire air pressure. • Keep fuel tank at least half full. • Have your vehicle checked periodically by a professional mechanic In case of a breakdown: • Move your car as far off the roadway as possible. • Turn on emergency flashers. • Exit your car away from traffic. • Raise your hood. Tie a light-colored cloth to the antennae or the door handle. • lf possible, wait for a uniformed law enforcement officer. • lf someone other than a uniformed officer offers to help, keep your doors locked and ask them to call police for help. Source: Texas Department of Public Safety “I'm just glad to be alive.Miracle Christmas WAI Ll/Herald-Zeitung Lynn Poe (left), full-time registered nurse for Hospice New Braunfels, assesses the physical and emotional conditions of Jake Hartman, his patient since May, during a routine visit to Hartman’s home. Local man says hospice saved him By Chaz Foster-Kyser Herald-Zeitung Correspondent Jake Hartman already got the best Christmas present ever — his life. This past Christmas, Hartman’s health was so poor that he thought he might not see another Christmas. “This Christmas is special because I’m doing better,” he said. “I’m just glad to be alive.” For most people, the word “hospice” conjures up an image of a place where the terminally ill go to “die rn dignity.” “It sounds terrible, but the alternative is to be at the hospital with apparatus and tools and strange people,” said Lynn Poe, a regis tered nurse for Hospice New Braunfels. “Our philosophy is that to die at home is a better way to go — with your friends and family around you, who love you.” When a cardiologist referred Jake to the hospice in May, Hartman said he was startled, associating hospice w ith imminent death. Although Jake and his wife, Nancy, knew Jake’s condition was serious, they didn’t want to believe he was in that deep of medical trouble. “Actually, if you could have seen him, you wouldn’t have given a nickel for him living six months,” Nancy said. But he did. Jake was one of the rare people who entered hospice care and not only survived but improved. Most patients seek hospice care when they no longer can benefit from curative treatment and have a life expectancy of a year or less. Yet 15 percent of the patients who came into hospice care in 1999 recovered. “People like Jake sort of fall into the medical miracle category,” Poe said. Jake realizes the hospice had a lot to do with this miracle. “Had it not been for hospice, chances are I would have died,” he said. The World War ll Naval Intelligence veteran has been through a lot in life and doesn’t plan See HOSPICES District attorney’s cramped quarters expandInside Archives Anonymous. ......7A Classifieds................... ...3-6B Comics........................ ......8A Crossword................... ......7 A Forum.......................... ......6A Local/Metro................. ......4A Movies......................... ......7A Obituaries.................... 3A Sports........................... ...1-3B Today........................... ......2A Television.................... www.herald-zeitung com Key code 76 Office getting 1,700 square feet By Erin Magruder Staff Writer Connie Williamson has seen a lot of changes in the district attorney’s office in her 20 years as a Comal County employee. “When I first started here, the DA’s office had three attorneys, a secretary and an assistant,” said Williamson, the executive office manager. “Now there are seven attorneys and about 24 employees in all.” To keep up with growth in the county, the district attorney’s office is undergoing a $10,000 expansion and remodeling project that will add about 1,700 square feet of space, said Ed Krai of the county purchasing department. County employees began discussing in 1998 the need for “growing room” in the cramped offices on the third floor of the Comal County Courthouse Annex, 150 S. Seguin Ave. Construction on the project began in May, Williamson said. “The office was getting awfully small,” she said. “The district attorney’s office has increased more than 50 percent in case loads in the last few years alone.” To accommodate its needs, the district attorney’s office will expand into the adjacent office space — formerly the district clerk’s office. The district clerk’s office already has moved across the hall into a larger, open room that, until recently, was used by grand juries. “The grand jury room had a lot of space that probably wasn’t being used as much as it should,” Williamson said. The new district attorney’s office will include seven rooms with five additional offices, a large storage room and an evidence room, and the law library will be remodeled so it can be monitored better by the librarian. The office also will add a clerk position in January. County purchasing office carpenter Mike Hoebel is doing all of the remodeling, with painting and clean-up help from the maintenance department and the community service restitution program. ;