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View Sample Pages : New Braunfels Herald Zeitung, December 23, 2004

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New Braunfels Herald Zeitung (Newspaper) - December 23, 2004, New Braunfels, Texas Mi'.l ADV limns?I nr</16- MS UNIT HUE .OPUBLISHL Ll r vn^DDl. I. DK 'ASO 1 limuUr THURSDAY, DECEMBER 23, 2004 erald-Zeitung SPORTS ALL DISTRICT Smithson Valley has 16 players named to the All-District 26-5A football teams. Page 7 A COUPONS SAVE JC Penney offers coupons for savings and discounts in its store. Inside Serving New Braunfels and Comal County since 1852. Vol. 154, No. 33 14 pages, 2 sections 500 WWW. 56825 00001 Partly cloudy High Low 43 25 Details .... 1B DEAR ABBY 3B CLASSIFIEDS 5B COMICS 2B CROSSWORD 2B FORUM BA OBITUARIES 3A SPORTS 7A TV GRIDS 3B Program notifies crime victims By Ron Maloney Staff Writer A special program that allows crime victims to keep tabs on jail inmates and know when they are released has come on line in Comal Coun- (VINE) program, a computerized database that monitors ty.    the comings and goings at Commissioners this week jails and prisons statewide signed on to the Victims Infor- and will notify anyone within mation Notification Everyday 15 minutes of the change of status of a jail inmate. Comal County Sheriff’s Office Crime Prevention Officer Cpl. Tim Kolbe has been working for more than a year to bring the program to New Braunfels. Tuesday, he informed commissioners that the system is on line. Commissioners See VINE, Page 3A VINE REGISTRATION I To register to know the status of anyone incarcerated in Comal County Jail and be notified of any changes, log on to or call (877) 894-8463. Click on the map ofTexas and enter the offender and contact information requested. See LEISSNER, Page 4A ****** BESEE HMV Tour of Faith Faith Harvest is the next church to be featured in the weekly series of churches. 94 ■if— ~~ I Iv.'. v*. I **' + Comal County unemployment rate stable in November By Scott Mahon Staff Writer Comal County’s unemployment rate in November remained stable at 4.1 percent, while the statewide unemployment rate rose to 5.4 percent from 5.3 percent in October. Comptroller Carole Keeton Strayhorn reported that the state economy is finally rebounding after the sharp decline that began during 2001, reflecting a national trend. Alter falling by 2IB,300, or 2.3 percent, from March 2001 through September 2003, statewide nonfarm employment increased in IO of the next 11 months. From September 2003 through August 2004, the Texas job count increased by 122,100, or 1.3 percent, and as statewide jobs increased, the jobless rate slowly declined. Although still less favorable than its low point of 3.8 percent in December 2000, the statewide unemployment rate has declined from a high of 6.9 percent in April and May of 2003 to 5.1 percent See UNEMPLOYMENT, Page 5A Leissner honored for 32 years of service By Ron Maloney Staff Writer DOWN TO THE WIRE DID YOU KNOW? CHRISTMAS CLOSINGS ■ Comal County offices will be closed Friday, Dec. 24, and will open Monday Dec. 28. ■ City offices will be closed from Friday, Dec. 24, through Monday, Dec. 27, and will re-open Tuesday, Dec. 28. ■ The city sanitation department will not collect garbage Christmas Day, but will collect residential garbage as usual Friday, Dec. 24, and Monday, Dec. 28 I New Braunfels Utilities will be closed from Friday, Dec. 24, through Monday, Dec. 28. For assistance with any utility problems during the holidays, call NBU dispatch at 629-4628. Payments can be left in the night depository located at the main office or in the drop boxes located at Albertson's, H-E-B, Wal-Mart, or Handy Andy Supermarkets. I Target will close at 6 p.m. Friday, Dec. 24, and will be closed Christmas Day I Wal-Mart will close at 6 p.m. Friday, Dec. 24, and will be closed Christmas Day. I Handy Andy will close at 7 p.m. Friday, Dec. 24 and will be closed Christmas Day. I H E B will close at 8 p.m. Friday, Dec. 24 and will be closed Christmas Day I Albertsons will close at 11 p.m. Friday, Dec. 24 and is the only grocery story open Christmas Day, 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. I Most banks will close early Friday, Dec. 24, and remain closed until Monday. First State Bank will close Friday at noon, and will re-open Monday. Frost Bank will also close at noon on Friday. Chase Bank will close at 3 p.m. on Friday, and will resume normal hours on Monday, Dec. 27. Photos by DAVID INGRAM Herald-Zeitung Valerie Maxwell looks for last minute gift ideas at Country Faire in downtown New Braunfels Wednesday afternoon. Last minute shoppers dash for presents By Leigh Jones Staff Writer The Target parking lot was full Wednesday as people braved the arctic gusts to finish their last minute Christmas shopping. With a good three days left, John Lovett said he would not accept being labeled a last minute shopper. “Us not last minute until Triday," he said. Lovett’s basket was full of stocking stuffers, mostly for his wife. Pat Muras, browsing through stacks of DVDs, said she always waited until a few days before the big day to finish getting her last presents. "It’s stressful, but I just seem to run out of time,” she said. "Something always gets put off.” Target Store Manager Kirk Kve-ton said the store had been very busy this week. “We've had three to four times our normal volume of shoppers,’’ he said. “We’re staffed and ready to go, so the lines won t be long. We also have some good sides for these last few days." Christy Johnson and her 3-year-old daughter, Emily, had no trouble finding things to put in their cart. "I think I have all my shopping done and then at die last minute, I realize I forgot something,” Christy said. Emily, who did not seem to mind spending the afternoon traveling around a store in a big red basket on wheels, had a toy in her lap and was pushing buttons to make it sing to her. "She usually picks out her gifts without realizing it," Christy said, lowering her voice just slightly. "She forgets we bought it and CHRISTMAS EVE SERVICES H A list of churches that will hold Christmas Eve services is on Page 5A then when she unwraps it Christmas morning, it’s a surprise all over again.” Mark borine and his 16-year-old daughter, Rose, also were braving the crowds to get some last minute, but very important, “We’re trying to find something for the cats," Mark said, reaching out to test the softness of a plush pet bed. “We were thinking about one of these.” Meko and Mayflower get presents every year. “They’re like family.” Mark said. In downtown New Braunfels, last minute shoppers were finding unique gifts to put under the tree. Norma and Bryan Boehm drove over from Marion to find they should have done all their shopping at Country Faire. “We’re 90 percent done," Bryan said. “We’re just wrapping it up for a few people we remembered at the last minute.” Valerie Maxwell, co-owner of ValMark Chevrolet, said she always waited until the last few days before Christmas to make her purchases. “I’m the epitome oflast minute shopping,” she said, claiming a habit normally exhibited by men. "I take after my dad.” Country Faire owner Sue Croft said many of this week's customers were men. “Otherwise, we just have a lot of people coming in for stocking stuffers and ornaments,” she said. Lori Johnson looks over a travel mug set while Christmas shopping with Cameron, 2, at Target Wednesday afternoon. Christy Johnson loads up her shopping cart with toys for Christmas at Target Wednesday afternoon. Comal County honored one of its longest-serving lawmen Wednesday on the eve of his retirement after more than 32 years of service. Constable Lester Leissner, former New Braunfels cop, sheriff’s deputy and now Precinct I Constable, retires at the end of next week. Leissner was hon- Lester ored at the county’s Leissner annual holiday luncheon Wednesday along with outgoing Precinct 3 Commissioner Cristina Zamora and Precinct 2 Constable Jim Hanley. “ Really, I don’t have any plans,” Leissner said just before accepting an appreciadon ;