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New Braunfels Herald Zeitung (Newspaper) - December 28, 2004, New Braunfels, Texas UESDAY, December 28,2004 cRALD-ZEITUNG SPORTSBASKETBALL New Braunfels presses all the right buttons in nondistrict girls basketball win over Smithson Valley. Page 5A FORUMCOLUMN Charley Reese writes how recipients of the Medal of Freedom reflect Bush's belief in himself. Page 4A Serving New Braunfels and Comal County since 1852. Vol. 154, No. 37 12 pages, 2 sections CLICK    50^ WWW? WL Mostly cloudy High Low 68 53 Details .... 1B DEAR ABBY 3B CLASSIFIEDS 4B COMICS 2B CROSSWORD 2B FORUM 4A OBITUARIES 3A SPORTS 5A TV GRIDS 3B ■■HHH HMM!Search continues for man in robbery case By Ron Maloney Staff Writer New Braunfels police detectives were working Monday running down leads in their search for whoever robbed a local bank on Christmas Eve. Patrol Et. John Villarreal said officers investigating the 9:45 a.m. robbery at TexStar Bank, located at Walnut Avenue and the west Interstate 35 frontage road, were fielding tip calls Monday. “I spoke with detective Sgt. (Bob) Parchman this morning,” Villarreal said. “He was working to get a leg up on some leads, and its my understanding the Criminal Investigation Division lieutenant is, as well.” Villarreal said investigators were reviewing footage shot by the bank’s security system, and have passed copies of them out to patrol officers to familiarize them with the suspect’s appearance. In additional, he said, photographs have been sent to other area law enforcement agencies in the hope someone can identify the suspect. “From the quality of the photos, he would be readily identifiable to someone who knows him, unless that’s a disguise,” Villarreal said. "His stature would also be an indicator, if he isn’t disguising that.” T he suspect is described in “be on the look out” bulletins as a white or Hispanic male between his late 30s and early 50s in age with a heavyset build. He had a light-brown or blond-colored beard and was wearing a dark knit cap, dark-colored gloves, a gray See CASE, Page 3A 2005-06 school year start under debate By Leigh Jones StaffWriter With one more week of Christmas vacation to go, next year’s school start date probably is the last thing Comal County students arc thinking about. But shortly alter the classrooms reopen in January, administrators and school trustees will decide how soon students must return in the fall and when they will be released in 2(X)6 for the summer. One start date might be as good as another, as far as students are cor teemed, unless it delays summer vacation or pushes first semester exams back until January. By law, school must start no sooner than the week which includes Aug. 21. I his year, the 21 st was a Saturday, enabling administrators to open school almost a week before, on the Aug. 17. But in 2005, Aug. 21 kills on a Sunday, forcing the start date to li te following Monday, unless the school district begs the Texas Education Association to let classes begin sooner. “I think we will probably seek a waiver to start early,” said Arui Kuehler, a member of New Braunfels Independent School District’s Improvement Council. lf the district does not start school until Tuesday, Aug. 23, giving teachers a workday Monday, schools would only have 79 instructional days before Christmas and 98 days between January anti June. The imbalance could force the first semester, with final exams for high school students, to end alter Christmas. The DITC has grappled with the calendar for months, and Kuehler is ready to hear what the community wants. “We need input from parents who have kids that will be affected (by die calendar),” she said. At the top of Kueliier’s list of questions is See SCHOOL, Page 2A Carter Casteel DID YOU KNOWH ■ By state law, school must start now sooner than the week which includes i Aug. 21. ■ For the 2005- j 06 school year, Aug. 21 falls on a Sunday, fore- j ing the start date to the following Monday unless the school district; begs the Texas Educational Associ- I ation to let classes begin earlier. Tragedy, disaster in Asia BAY ISMOYO/AFP/Getty Images Residents of Banda Aceh walk through a scene of destruction Monday following a devastating quake and series of tidal waves that struck the province. Indonesia's remote Aceh region, on the northern tip of Sumatra island has emerged as one of the worst-affected areas with thousands of fatalities after taking the full force of the quake and the tsunami that followed Sunday. Death toll from quake, tsunamis passes 22,500 By Dilip Ganguly Associated Press Writer COLOMBO, Sri Lanka — Rescuers piled up bodies Monday along southern Asian coastlines devastated by tidal waves that obliterated seaside towns and killed more than 22,500 people in IO countries. With thousands missing and the death toll expected to climb far higher, aid agencies and nations rushed to help millions of people left homeless or without clean water. Hundreds of children were buried in mass graves in India, and morgues and hospitals struggled to cope with the catastrophe. Somalia reported hundreds of deaths, some 3,000 miles away from the earthquake off Indonesia that sent tsunamis raging across the Indian Ocean. The International Red PRAKASH SINGH/AFP/Getty Images Women cover their face as walk through the devastated Karmavadi village in the Nagapattinam district, some 350 km south of Madras Monday after tidal waves hit the region.The death toll in southern India from tidal waves that battered much of Asia crossed 6,800 Monday with thousands still missing, officials said. Cross reported 23,700 deaths and expressed concern about waterborne diseases like malaria and cholera, jail Egeland, the IJ.N. Emergency Relief Coordinator, said millions of people were affected — by lost homes, polluted drinking water, destroyed sanitation — and that the cost of the damage would “probably be many billions of dollars." “We cannot fathom the cost of these poor societies and the nameless fishermen and fishing villages and so on that have just been wiped out. I lundreds of thousands of livelihoods have gone,” he told reporters. In San Antonio Monday, District Director O’Leen Stone reported District 21 U.S. Rep. Lamar Smith was monitoring the situation in the Indian Ocean. “Congressman Smith so far has had one inquiry from constituents whose child was on a boat in the Indian Ocean, hut they have since heard from her and fortunately, all is well,” Stone said. “The Depart ment of State through its Overseas Citizens Services office has established a See TSUNAMI, Page 2A DID YOU KNOW? CONTACT NUMBERS FOR RELATIVES IN HIT AREAS I Those concerned about the status of relatives in the area devastated by tsunami Sunday can call the U.S. State Department's Overseas Citizens Services Office at 1 888 4074747. K For information, log onto the State irtrm rift Bureau of Consular Affairs Web site at www. travel.state gov. On the left side rail are post mgs concerning Indonesia, Sri Lanka andThai land. The site is updated 24 flours a day, seven days a week. Governments scramble to account for citizens vacationing in areas COMINGWEDI NESDAY I Back in line Now that Christmas is over, people head to the stores for bantams, return/ exchange line. M By Alisa Tang Associated Press Writer PHI PHI ISLAND, Thailand — For thousands of young travelers from Sydney to Stockholm, this was the perfect tropical island, a palm-swaying dream-scape rising gently out of an emerald sea. But tourists on Phi Phi had their paradise turned upside down on Sunday, when tidal waves triggered by a mammoth Indonesian earthquake rained down. “It was like a scene from the apocalypse. There was litter everywhere — motorcycles, cars and dead bodies. I saw many dead babies on the beach,” said Pascale Panuel, a French woman living in Tokyo. As helicopters hovered overhead and large ferries and small speedboats arrived to evacuate stunned tourists and villagers, rescuers combed through the rubble of what were once bungalows, bars, Internet cafes and dive shops. “Nobody was prepared. There was no warning. Lots of people were instantly dead,” said Daniel Friberg, a 24-year-old from Stockholm, Sweden, who had spent two months on the island as a bartender. As many as 20,000 Swedes may have been in area hit hard by the tidal waves, Swedish Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Nina Ersman said. Swedes, Danes, Norwegians and Finns traditionally flock to T hailand during their long, cold winters. Foreign ministries across See SEARCH, Page 2A .    ,    fife*,    .    s    -v ;