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New Braunfels Herald Zeitung (Newspaper) - December 29, 2004, New Braunfels, Texas r. * + Ti rn* souiHwr. \:J-\,,i 2621 t p i’fiivO M ( <' ’■ cfi KJIV I 5 BASKETBALL Smithson Valley boys face tall task as District 26-5A basketball wars begin. Page 5A WEDNESDAY, DECEMBER 29,2004 iRALD-ZEITUNG wrm'niifi’n— FORUM COLUMN Cal Thomas writes how the Democrats try to get back on track with issues. Page 4A Serving New Braunfels and Comal County since 1852. Vol. 154, No. 38 12 pages, 2 sections K 500 I 56825 00001' 1 V Mostly ^ cloudy High Low 72 59 Details .... 1B DEAR ABBY 4B CLASSIFIEDS SB COMICS 3B CROSSWORD 3B FORUM 4A OBITUARIES 3A SPORTS 5A TV GRIDS 4B Sifting through the debris Spring Branch ESD seeks tax increase Dimas Ardian/Getty Images A mother and her children walk past debris left in a street after a tsunami hit the beach 150 miles from southern Asia's massive earthquake's epicenterTuesday in Banda Aceh, Indonesia. Up to 25,000 were feared dead and the possibility of disease outbreaks threatened to claim more lives in Aceh Province. Death toll passes 58,000; officials warn of disease DID YOU KNOW? AGENCIES COLLECTING MONEY FOR REUEF EFFORTS Several American agencies are collecting money to send to tsunami victims. All donations are tax deductible. * Rad Cross International Response Fund —PO Box 37243, Washington, D C. 20013, (800) HELP-NOW B Salvation Army - (800) SALARMY ■ India Gospel Outreach — c/o Freedom Fellowship Church, 410Timber Hollow, New Braunfels, TX 78132, (830) 625-1288 B Other relief agencies —Can be found on the Internet at, which is a secure site set up to accept donations by credit or debit card MISSING RELATIVES B 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 1-888-407-4747. ON THE INTERNET B For information, log onto the State Department's Bureau of Consular Affairs Web site at On the left side rail are postings concerning Indonesia, Sri Lanka and Thailand. The site is updated 24 hours a day, seven days a week. By LelyT. Djuhari Associated Press Writer BANDA ACE! I, Indonesia — Hungry refugees survived on coconuts or looted food on Indonesia's battered Sumatra island Tuesday as the region’s death toll from a mammoth earthquake and tsunami rose above 58,000. The U.N. health agency warned that epidemics could claim as many lives. In Indonesia, there were vast areas of devastation where the bodies had not been counted. An official said 10,000 people might have died in the area around a Sumatran town, which would be the worst death toll in a single location. A flight over Meula-boh showed widespread wreckage and buildings inundated by water. In India, a police official said 8,000 people were missing and feared dead, most of them on two island chains. T hey also were not part of The Associated Press’ overall tally. Along India’s southeastern coast, hospital teams stood by to help the injured, but three days after the disaster still spent most of their Tsunami dead pass 58,000 More than 55.OOO people died in Southern Aum and Eastern Africa after tsunami waves from sn Indisn Ocean earthquake hit the coastlines. J Vv. CI MNA Arabian Sea •I '.. r.—MYANMAR ' ■ I Andaman / >(imm I Upturn . *2 Island    / ~ v Phi Island T -v/ 1 w#* %«uruint. ✓ India n « 2004 KUT Source AP O e • Preliminary death toll Estimates as of 5 pm. ET Tuesday (11 p.m. CET) Indonesia: 27.000 More dead being found as relief workers reach northern Sumatra Sri Lanka: 18,700 Total expected to reach 20.000 to 25,000 India: 4,400 8.000 missing in remote Andaman, Nicobar Islands Thailand: 1,500 Snnuriia: 11O Myanmar: 90 Malaysia: 65 Maldives: 52 Tanzania: 10 Seychelles: 3 Bangladesh: 2 time tabulating the dead as ambulances hauled in more bodies. A f rench cultural center in T hailand’s capital provided clothes and food for tourist families left with nothing when the sea battered southern beach resorts. “My mother, no word! My sisters, brothers, aunt, uncle, grandmother, no word!’’ yelled a woman at a makeshift morgue in Lhok-seumawe, Indonesia. “Where are they? Where are they? I don’t know where to start looking.” Indonesia’s Health Ministry said in a statement that thousands more bodies were found Tuesday, raising to more than 27,000 the number of confirmed deaths in parts of Sumatra island, the territory closest to the epicenter of the quake that sent tsunami waves rolling across the Indian Ocean. Sri Lanka listed 21,700 people dead, India 4,400 and T hailand 1,500, with the toll expected to rise. A total of more than 300 were killed in Malaysia, Myanmar, Bangladesh, the Maldives, Somalia, Tanzania, Seychelles and Kenya. But officials had not yet counted the dead in two zones that suffered the brunt of both the earthquake and the tsunami that followed: The west coast of Sumatra and India’s remote See ASIA, Page 2A Locals offer help in international relief efforts By Uigh Jongs Staff Writer IWO months ago, Dennis Gallaher and nis wife, Jan, were relaxing on the beach at a resort in Kar-ala, India. Today, the area lies in ruins, decimated by Sunday's tsunami. “It’s one of the most beautiful places in the world," he said. “But things will never be the same there. It will take years and years to recover." Gallaher, pastor of Freedom Fellowship Church in New Braun fels, takes several trips to Karala every year to teach at a Bible college run by India Gospel Outreach. When news of the disaster broke Sunday morning, his first thought was for people he knew. Initial reports indicated 107 people died in Karala, located at the southwestern most point of India. “It hasn’t really sunk in yet," Gallaher said. “But I think all of the people I know are safe.” See HELP, Page 2A Businesses, customers deal with after holidays rush By Scott Mahon Staff Writer Carol Clark stood in the checkout line at Kohl s Department Store with an arm-full of Christmas ornaments. “They were marked down 60 percent!" Clark said. Her sister, Lucy Page, was holding a stack of towels that were 30 percent off. Like millions of other shoppers, Clark and Page were taking advantage of bargains offered by major retailers after Christmas. “All of our seasonal products are marked down 60 percent,” said Kohl s store manager Katherine Stripling. “And our cold weather merchandise will be marked down for clearance until it’s all gone." Stripling said last week, especially Christmas Eve, was an excellent week. “People are shopping for Christmas later and later each year,” she said. “Especially during the last two days before Christmas." Most retailers, including Kohl’s, hoped shoppers would splurge on gifts after Christmas and opened their See SHOPPING, Page 3A Hi,, //WWW I >1 J I I 11 , I I 11 //    --r* MS MT MM ms: EM M FEE MM EMM CE f Mil. ti i v Jeep I b .multi , IX OVER 700 VEHICLES IN STOCK ■ I =4 J ;f»l 111 UM 2001 rTT.wT^lrrTTT windstar lx 3 a* M a* J *UK *g A,r *1 UurJ: Ll A JBtJLJLwJEKJL iii m A y% y * yiuwv\ uh Ui*\ 800-725-151 5 CO PUfM Hi Ho*    few AC f *12,995 ^ MB ,»sTii*uecor4i    W s hmnmp MNM By Ron Maloney StaffWriter SPRING BRANCH — The emergency services district responsible for fire service in Spring Branch will seek a 3-cent increase in its property tax at an election called for Feb. 5. ESD 4 President Bob Walker addressed Commissioners Court Tuesday to tell the county it would seek to raise its property tax cap from 3 to 6 cents per $100 of assessed valuation. ESD 4 contracts with the Spring Branch Volunteer Fire Department for fire protection in 124 square miles of western Comal County area. On a home with a taxable value of $50,000, die increase would mean a $ 15 tax hike per year—or $30 per year on a $100,000 home. The money would be used to make the SBVFD a full-time fire department and See RATE, Page 3A Jeremy Van Ausdall Tour of Faith Another church is profiled in the weekly series of churches in and around the county. ;