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New Braunfels Herald Zeitung (Newspaper) - December 23, 2000, New Braunfels, Texas /AV NKW? BiSAfc.NFKI.sHerald-Zeitung Vol. 150, No. 36    22    pages    in    3    sections    December    23,    2000    J3^\Y    ^eFV*n^    ^oma*    ^ountY    s*nce    1852    50    cents Comal law enforcement By Jennifer Rodriguez Staff WriterMousy Christmas CHRIS PACE/Herald-Zeitung Sophienburg Museum’s St. Nicholas said he enjoys helping children believe in the magic and spirit of Christmas just a little longer.Stories from St. Nick fill NB museum For 27 years the Sophienburg Museum has opened its doors on Dec. 5 — the eve of the feast of St. Nicholas — and invited New Braunfels in to listen to a story that would send chills down any naughty child’s back. And for 27 years, museum hosts have tried to keep secret the identity of the New Braunfels resident portraying St. Nicholas. “Over the past 27 years, we’ve only had a handful of St. Nicholas’s,’’ Sophienburg executive director Michelle Oatman said. “We have wonderful volunteers who seem to enjoy doing it for the community as much as we enjoy hosting it for the community.’’ “It’s not like going to a mall and standing in line to have a $ 10 photo taken of your child,” Oatman said. “We have second and third generations coming to this.”" The tradition has passed between generations of residents, and this year’s St. Nicholas said has enjoyed being a part of the legacy for about IO years. “Even the adults don’t recognize me, and that’s always fun,” the Sophienburg St. Nick said. The black boots, red robe and gray beard that comprise St. Nicholas’ costume turns even the friendliest-faced fellow into an imposing figure who, among other things, hands out switches to bad children. “You see the little faces of the kids — when they come up, they’re anxious,” the Sophienburg St. Nicholas said. The man who has donned the costume for IO years says make no mistake: St. Nicholas is no Santa Claus. “Santa Claus is more of a ‘Ho, ho, ho,’ jolly old elf, whereas St. Nicholas is a little more gruff,” he said. Legend says St. Nicholas actually was a pair of men from the same town, both named Nicholas that roamed the countryside performing good deeds. On Dec. 5 one of them would visit a family’s home and let the children know if they deserved treats. After knocking on the door and being invited inside, St. Nicholas would See St. NICK/3A County honors tax collector for service By Ron Maloney Staff Writer Sheriff Bob Holder well remembers the day he met Gloria German about a quarter of a century ago. Holder, then a supervisor in the Department of Public Safety, had an office in the old county Courthouse annex building. “I came here as a new, much younger highway patrol supervisor in 1977,” Holder said. “We bought everything in bulk, and wed just purchased 36 tires to put on patrol cars. The troopers and I began rolling them up the stairs. I’d never met Gloria, but I met her that day,” Holder remembered. He also remembered what shed said to him about the “smelly” tires. It wasn’t a good start. “I wondered how our relationship would be that day,” Holder said. He soon found out. “It’s been great,” Holder said. “We’ll miss you, darling.” Holder was one of many county officials and employees who honored Clennan Thursday on the eve of her retirement. Clennan, defeated in the Nov. 7 election by Republican Sherman Krause, retires on Dec. 31 after 24 years in office. Krause joined the packed crowd Thursday in the commissioners’ courtroom. See COUNTY/3 A Santa Letters Mickey fan shows devotion with holiday decorations By Jo Lee Ferguson Staff Writer Debbie Pogue isn’t just Mickey Mousing around about Christmas, no matter what her home might look like. From the outside, her stone house looks almost like any other. The front door, however, hints at the preoccupation Pogue has with a certain small mouse who wears gloves and black pants: A red Christmas wreath in the shape of Mickey Mouse’s head hangs on the front door. But it’s what lies behind the door that probably makes even Santa Claus pause and look when he slides down Pogue’s chimney. Pictures of Mickey and Minnie Mouse decorate her living room walls. Two small Mickey Mouse disco balls hang from the ceiling fan. Mickey’s and Minnie’s faces and the images of their friends, Goofy and Donald Duck, hail from Christmas stockings hanging from the chimney mantle. A Mickey Mouse telephone sits in one comer, near what probably would be a life-size statue of a golfing Mickey, if Mickey were real. A Minnie Mouse dressed in holiday attire stands nearby. One wall holds a curio cabinet of hundreds of Mickey Mouse figurines. On top of the cabinet, Mickey and his friends repeatedly ski down an automated ski slope, pausing only when one of the plastic figures falls off its track. The ski slope is situated around a small tree decorated with Mickey Mouse ornaments that Pogue made herself from small figurines. “I have stuff from Russia, Czechoslovakia, Hawaii, the Bahamas. I have it from everywhere,” she said. “It’s been a fun thing to collect. Eighteen years of collecting is a long time.” For Pogue, Christmas means a collision between two things she loves urges safety By Ron Maloney Staff Writer In this weekend’s last minute, holiday shopping, law enforcement officials want residents to be sure to remember not to leave safety consciousness at home. Deputy Tim Kolbe, crime prevention officer for the Comal County Sheriff’s Office, had a little advice for late shoppers Friday. “Much of our advice would be the obvious, standard safety things like making sure you lock your car doors,” Kolbe said. “My goodness, make sure you take your keys awamess out of your car and always lock your vehicles, even if parked under the carport at home,” he said. Kolbe said the holidays are a very busy time for criminals — particularly burglars, and that includes parking lot burglars. “Just because it’s the holiday season doesn’t mean crime takes a holiday,” Kolbe said. “You need to be especially careful — particularly at the shopping mall.” “We notice a lot of vehicle burglaries,” Kolbe said. “Obviously, it’s late in the shopping season See SAFETY/3A K. JESSIE SLATEN/Herald-Zeitung Grant Gisler stares through a store window in Gruene Friday afternoon, admiring the toy train under the Christmas tree. K. JESSIE SLATEN/Herald-Zeitung Debbie Pogue’s obsession with Mickey Mouse manifests itself with her holiday decorations. Pogue, who has diabetes and heart problems, says Christmas and Mickey Mouse are her two favorite things. dearly — Christmas and Mickey Mouse. Her living room is decorated with Mickey Mouse paraphernalia year-round. But she takes some items down at Christmas to make room for her special Mickey Mouse Christmas decorations. Pogue’s fascination with Mickey Mouse didn’t develop until adulthood. “My dad was military, and we were everywhere, all over Europe,” she said. “I liked (Mickey Mouse), but we weren’t really allowed to collect something and have to pack it up and move it everywhere we had to move.” She discovered Mickey Mouse in a pawnshop about 18 years ago. Pogue said she was at the pawnshop with a friend when she saw the See MICKEY/3A Find out what New Braunfels youngsters want for Christmas in their letters to Santa inside today’s special section brought to you by the Herald-Zeitung and H-E-B Food Store/1-6CInside Abby................................SA Classifieds.......................5-8B Comics...............................4B Crossword..........................5A Forum.................................6A Local/Metro........................4A Movies..................................5A Obituaries...........................3A Sports............................1-3B Today................................2A www.heratd-2eitung.coni Key Code 76Coming Sunday Tis better to give than to receive, and New Braunfels has plenty of ways you can give this holiday season ./Lifestyle IC Driving during the holidays can be dangerous From Staff Reports About 61 million Americans are expected to take to the road this weekend to drive “home” for the holidays, wherever home might be. The good news is that the American Automobile Association off Texas reports gas prices have dipped a little in this state in recent weeks. Texans will pay on average 15 cents per gallon less for fuel than motorists elsewhere, and 25 cents per gallon less than last year. The bad news, according to the Texas Department of Public Safety, is that the roads are still just as dangerous as ever. This year, public safety ant Texas Stranded Motorist Helpline ■ (800) 525-5555, or for cell customers dial DPS (*377) Department of Transportation officials say all available patrol officers will be on the streets and highways looking for drunken drivers. Last December, 83 people died in alcohol-related accidents in Texas, and 2,303 were injured. Susan Bryant, TxDOT traffic safety director adv ised that everyone who will be out where people are drinking designate a sober driver for the trip home. ‘If alcohol is involved in their holiday celebrations, we’re reminding people not to get behind the wheel if they’ve been drinking,” Bryant said. Locally, the DPS will be stepping up holiday patrols as well. “People need to buckle up, slow down and be sure to designate a driver,” said Highway Patrol Capt. Joe Hamilton of San Antonio. “We repeat the same words each year and each year, people neglect to take their own safety into account and pay a terrible price. The last thing we want to do this holiday season is knock on someone’s door and tell them a loved one has See DRIVING/3A ;