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New Braunfels Herald Zeitung (Newspaper) - December 27, 2005, New Braunfels, Texas TUESDAY, DECEMBER 27,2005 ii/jfl/w ,rDC (tOPUBU5**-Ll OR cr I UNGFire threat in Comal County at critical stage Serving New Braunfels and Comal County since 1852. SPORTS GAME TIME After taking a break for Christmas, local basketball teams head back to the courts today. Page 5 FORUM COLUMN I Guest columnist Laina Mayo | says learning to accept I yourself is the first step I to approval. Page 4 Vol. 154, No. 340 10 pages, 1 section 50$ 8 "56825 00001’" 1 Sunny High Low 80 50 DEAR ABBY 8 CLASSIFIEDS 8 COMICS 7 CROSSWORD 7 FORUM 4 OBITUARIES 3 SPORTS 5 TV GRIDS 8 -f pp 1,000-acre blaze that hit Saturday likely started by electric fence By Bon Maloney Staff Writer A fast-moving fire that blackened more than 1,000 acres of farm and brush land Saturday was believed caused by dry conditions and an electric fence. A power outage Saturday evening that cut electrical service to an unknown number of customers was connected to tile blaze. New Braunfels Fire Marshal Dar ren Brinkkoeter said he believed the fire started at an electric fence on the Krause ranch. “My preliminary investigation, unless proven otherwise, is it was a farm fence dividing off the Krause ranch in the area of the natural gas substation at Morningside,” Brinkkoeter said. The windwhipped flames leapfrogged roads and fields, threatening a number of structures and destroying a few outbuildings. No farm equipment or livestock were believed lost in the fire. “It was a long four hours of intensively fought Fires,” Brinkkoeter said. “We did lose several outbuildings off FM 1044, including a fairly large structure at Klein Road.” A building at Ron Road and Morningside Drive was threatened and equipment was removed from it before the fire was stopped. Close calls were reported at some homes in the area, he said. “There was a quadplex on FM 1044, where fire burned through a window in two lower units and burned the blinds and a wood seal around the windows,” Brinkkoeter said. “A trailer house suffered some exterior and heat damage, but it didn’t go inside. Truck 5 was there and knocked that fire out.” The power interruption was caused on the Lower Colorado River See THREAT, Page 3 CHOOSE FOR YOURSELF Police: Be careful not to publicize big gifts By Ron Maloney Staff Writer So, you got through Christmas. Santa delivered the gifts, the children loved them and you managed to avoid becoming a holiday crime victim. Don’t get complacent just because the big day has passed and you haven’t been hit — at least not yet. The Grinch isnt the only one out there stealing Christmas gifts. Local law enforcement officials say most home burglaries occur during the day, and drug abusers looking for their next “score" might just view your new plasma television as their ticket. They could conduct a holiday “clearance” of their own and come pick it up while you’re at work this week. Did you do anything to help them find it? Comal County Sheriff’s Deputy Tim Kolbe said crooks and criminals do much of their holiday shopping after Christmas — and they could well be doing it in your neighborhood. An important thing to remember in the days and weeks after the holidays is that criminals know all the big-ticket gifts they saw in stores had to go somewhere. “They know all these items, the big screen televisions, home theater systems, the XBox 360s, are in your homes," Kolbe said. “You can’t hide a new car, but you don’t need to advertise you have all these other things. In the days after Christmas, when we’re on patrol, we see the boxes these things came See CRIME, Page 6 2005: THE YEAR THAT ■ SUNDAY: The AP's top 10 stories of the year ■TODAY: Faces of suffering ■WEDNESDAY: The year in Washington ■THURSDAY: Energy prices loomed large ■FRIDAY: Information Age in high gear ■SATURDAY: Texas deals with drought ■JAN. 1: The top 10 stories of the year in Comal County Year of suffering touched all the world By Erin McClam AP National Writer The story of2005 was told in the faces of human suffering — people touched by tragedy at die hands of nature's vicious winds and waters, or by the design of terrorists who set their sights on soldiers, hotels and simple morning commutes. You can mark the days and months of the year by tracing the grief and loss and horror that reached across the world, from faroff Pakistan to Sudan, in the capitals of Amman and London, in remote tornado-ravaged towns in Indiana. And New Orleans. Indelibly, the suffering that 2005 brought to so many places was captured by the American catastrophe that devastated Louisiana and Mississippi over one wrenching late-summer week and for years to come. Beneath it all was the steady drip, drip, drip of U.S. military deaths in Iraq, leaving behind grieving families and a nation increasingly souring on the war. The conflict marked its 1,000th day this year, and its 2,000th fallen soldier. TTiere were moments when the suffering was reverent: In April, Archibishop Stanis-law Dziwisz wept as he placed See SUFFERING, Page 2 Disaster derails Christmas services at local church By Ron Maloney Staff Writer The Fellowship Bible Church congregation was unable to conduct Christmas services Sunday in the wake of a fire believed caused by an electrical problem. New Braunfels Fire Marshal Darren Brinkkoeter said the 7:30 a.m. fire heavily damaged the masonry structure and its metal roof, but no one was injured in the blaze — or while fighting the fire. “Our first report was from the neighbors, that there was smoke from the roof,” Brinkkoeter said. “When Engine 2 arrived, there was heavy smoke and flames from the roof at the back of the building.” Firefighters believe the blaze began in a room above the church’s sanctuary that DAVID INGRAM Herald-Zeitung Fellowship Bible Church suffered heavy damages. housed the facility’s sound system. “We believe it was accidental,’’ Brinkkoeter said. No one was in tile building at the time of the fire. Brinkkoeter estimated damage to the building, the attached classrooms and its roof at more than $80,000. “Both the sanctuary and the classrooms were heavily damaged,” he said. DAVID INGRAMHerald-Zeitung A 1,000-acre grass fire threatened, but did not destroy, homes near New Braunfels. For many, gifts come a day after Christmas By Ron Maloney Staff Writer ] to week and sings with more confidence than she had before, it might be because of the karaoke machine her brothers bought her for Christmas. But the karaoke wasn’t under the family tree Sunday morning. Lindsay got it Monday at the Target, where Bueche family joined thousands of shoppers who were either exchanging or returning items, spending gift cards or shopping for after-Christmas bargains. Buechel grandmother, Anita Sanders of Stockdale, her mom, Betty Bueche, and her brother, Ryan, were all out at Target. “I’m just looking,” Betty said. “I'm here so Lindsay can spend her Christmas money.” Anita was there, she said, because she likes going shopping with her daughter—and she likes the local Target. "We love coming here,” Anita said. “When you want help, the employees here are wonderful — they don’t hide from you. Specifically, we were looking for a few dishes we saw the other day.” She pointed proudly to colorful ceramic bowls sitting near the top of her shopping See SHOPPING, Page 6 DAVID INGRAM/Herald-Zeitung Lindsay Bueche, 6, and her mom, Betty, shop for a karaoke machine during the post-Christmas sale at Target on Monday afternoon. Below,Target sales floor team member Chris Richardson restocks quickly emptying shelves. cart, and said she was glad to see them marked down substantially. “We’re always happy here,” Anita said. An aisle or two away, sales floor executive team leader Kirk Kveton was pretty happy, too. “We’re extremely busy, which is great!” he exclaimed. “We love it!” School taking shape Despite numerous delays, Comal ISDs newest school — Canyon Lake High School — is beginning to take shape.GREAT TASTE ' "' GREAT TIMES ;