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New Braunfels Herald Zeitung (Newspaper) - February 2, 2003, New Braunfels, Texas Lifestyle Annual Hill Country Doll Show returns to civic center/1 C Leisure Say it with flowers — Florists gear up for Valentine’s Day/Inside New Braunfels Sports Canyon, NB swimmers compete at regional meet/1 B SUNDAY February 2, 2003 40 pages in 5 sections mmmmmm    jppHMM    4U    pages    in    0    sectlC Herald-Zeitung Vol. 152, No. 70Serving New Braunfels and Comal County since 1852 $1.00 MICHAEL ANDERSON DAVID BROWN KALPANA CHAWLA LAUREL CLARK RICK HUSBAND WILLIAM MCCOOL ILAN RAMONSpace shuttle vaporized Nation picking up pieces after catastrophe By Maroa Dunn and Pam Easton Associated Press Writers High over Texas and just short of home, space shuttle Columbia fell to pieces Saturday, raining debris over hundreds of miles of countryside. Seven astronauts perished — a gut-wrenching loss for a country and world already staggered by tragedy. Columbia disaster timeline/6A The catastrophe occurred 39 mUes above the Earth, in the last 16 minutes of the 16-day mission as the spaceship re-entered the atmosphere and glided in for a landing in Florida. In its horror and in its backdrop of a crystal blue sky, the day echoed one almost exactly 17 years before, when the Challenger exploded. “The Columbia is lost,” said President Bush, after he telephoned the families of the astronauts to console them. “The same creator who names the stars also knows the names of the seven souls we mourn today," Bush said, his eyes glistening. “The crew of the shuttle Columbia did not return safely to Earth but we can pray they are safely home." SM UN Ml SHANE BEVEL/Shreveport Ttmes/ZUMA Press Scott Walker, Palestine Volunteer Fire Department chief, checks a piece of debris with a Geiger counter off Highway 155, 10 miles north of Palestine, Texas. The metal is believed to be from the space shuttle Columbia explosion that happened Saturday morning. The search for the cause began immediately. One focus: possible damage to Columbia’s protective thermal tiles on the left wing from a flying piece of debris during liftoff on Jan. 16. The loss of seven explorers of space’s dark reaches — shuttle commander Rick Hus-band, Michael Anderson, David Brown, Kalpana Chawla, Laurel Clark, William McCool and Ilan Ramon — brought a new round of grief to a nation still in mourning after the terrorist See SHUTTLE/6A At Landa Park Golf Course, golfer Armando Granado watches the news unfold Saturday morning as NASA continues to call Columbia’s disaster a contingency, not yet willing to admit to her crew’s demise. K. JESSIE SLATEN/HerakJ- Zeitung 16 years later, residents remember Challenger By Dylan Jimenez Staff Writer As a child in January 1986, Marlynn Mead watched coverage of the shuttle Challenger tragedy. “We were watching it at our school,” she said. Saturday morning she was driving from San Antonio into New Braunfels, where her husband and sister work, “to do fun things” with her daughter, she said. She heard on the radio that space shuttle Columbia exploded. She tried to explain the tragedy to her daughter Shalynn Sprague, 8, who has been studying astronomy and visiting the planetarium in school. “I told our daughter they would probably be talking about it in class,” Mead said. Shalynn said the event made her sad and asked her mom if the shuttle crew was going to crash into the sun. Her mother said though Shalynn is trying to make sense of the event itself, she understands the tragedy of it. “Right away she knew,” Mead said. “She watched the 9/11 stuff and she understands.” Mead said she sees the deaths of the seven crew members as honorable. She said she thinks of the astronauts as fireman, putting their lives at risk for the field See RESIDENTS/9A n meeting focuses on it repair, civic center By Sean BowlinStaff Writer When Mayor Adam Cork ran for office, one thing he wanted to do was conduct town meetings from time to time in an effort to make the mayor and city government more accessible. Thursday evening, Cork conducted his first town meeting at city hall, which about 75 residents attended. They talked with the mayor and asked questions about a range of issues from the civic center proposals to how tax money is raised and spent and how the city’s streets might be repaired. The answers — or some of them — came first in the form of architectural drawings Cork pointed to residents watched and listened to him talk. The drawings showed current civic center expansion plan, the new civic center plans and what a city municipal campus could look like if it included the present civic center. But they were proposals, not set in stone. Then Cork pointed to aerial photographs of how the See MEETING/8AInside Abby......................................2C Classifieds..............................1-8D Comics......................  4B Lifestyle.............................1-6C Forum....................................7A Local/State......................  4A Movies..................................2C Obituaries.............................3A Records................................SA Sports................................1-3B Today ...............................2A Stocks...-...............................6B I 56825 00002 NBU warns against scam artists By Ron MaloneyStaff Writer New Braunfels Utilities officials have issued a warning about scam artists who prey on their victims by posing as utility employees. NBU Communications Manager Gretchen Reuwer said the utility had received a report of two people stealing cash and credit cards from a local resident by posing as utility employees. While one of the suspects lured the resident from her home, the other apparently slipped in through a back door and emptied the victim’s purse, Reuwer said. “You hear about this sort of thing, and it’s just so sad,” Reuwer said. “Its just human nature to trust people. But nowadays, you have to watch what’s going on.” Other con artists, Reuwer said, have used scams such as telling an older customer that their breaker box needs to be replaced and offering to take a blank check to the utility to pay for the work. One resident’s entire cheeking account was emptied in this type of scam, Reuwer said. There is only one circumstance under which an NBU employee will ever seek cash at a home, Reuwer said. “During a disconnect situation, a meter reader will phone back to the main office and verify how much money to take,” Reuwer said. “Its a situation where the customer is trying to maintain their service. We work with them in that instance,” Reuwer said. Only extremely rarely will an NBU employee need to go into a customer’s home, Reuwer said, and they never do it without being asked. “If you have any doubt, get the license plate number or truck number off the truck and call our dispatch center any tune of the day or night at 608-8800,” Reuwer said. All NBU employees, Reuwer said, will be in uniformSee SCAM/8Aam ;