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New Braunfels Herald Zeitung (Newspaper) - July 9, 2005, New Braunfels, Texas m 11X10571 U/iSSs BL PASO TX 79903 ••'HiliililiilliuiillmhH SPORTS LITTLE LEAGUE Local teams edge closer to championship games during District 31 tournaments. Page 5A EMINENT DOMAIN STATE'S TURN Gov. Rick Perry adds private property rights to the call for the ongoing special session. Page 3A Serving New Braunfels and Comal County since 1852. Vol. 154, No. 200 16 pages, 2 sections WWW7 I |£Ig|lgiREftR HRmrRRMI DEAR ABBY 3B CLASSIFIEDS 4B COMICS 2B CROSSWORD 2B FORUM 4A OBITUARIES 3A SPORTS 5A TV GRIDS 3BDefense opens in murder-for-hire trial By Ron Maloney Staff Writer The defense of the pair accused of seeking a “hit man” in a murder-for-hire scheme opened with attorneys Glen Peterson and Anthony Cantrell working to build their cases using the prosecution’s witnesses. Peterson called New Braunfels police Lt. Mike Rust, the officer who spearheaded the investigation into the alleged plot to kill a Tomball woman, and Tina Lawson, the woman who informed police about the alleged plans of Jonathon Gene Benavides, 31, and Samantha Kader-li Childs, 24, to hire a contract killer to do the job. The pair was arrested March 6 and 7,2004, at their respective homes in Houston and New Braunfels, and are charged with criminal conspiracy to solicit capital murder. If proved in Judge Jack Robison’s 207th Judicial District Court, the allegation is a first-degree felony punishable by between five and 99 years in state prison and a fine of up to $10,000. If convicted, Childs and Benavides will be sentenced by the jury. District Attorney Dib Waldrip and Assistant District Attorney Geoff Barr See DEFENSE, Page 8ARain, wind do not diminish fire danger By Ron Maloney StaffWriter Comal County enjoyed a brief and boisterous rainfall Thursday evening that uprooted trees and caused other damage, but local officials warn it was not enough to reduce fire danger. A localized thundershower that struck Comal County between 8 and 9 p.m. dumped upward of half an inch of water in some places and lifted roofs, uprooted trees, lawn furniture raid other property in a swath that ran from Canyon [.ake to New Braunfels. Phyllis Preston, who lives on Clover Circle not far from Wal-Mart, reported her new gazebo blew over. “T here were metal stakes at least a foot long in the ground, and it just lifted the See WEATHER, Page 7A New Braunfels company builds invisible fences to keep pets in r~ the yard.    [_As death toll mounts, London begins healing By Paisley Dodds Associated Press Writer LONDON — London struggled back Friday after bombings stunned the city and crippled its transit system. With the death toll mounting, families cared for wounded relatives, rescuers searched for bodies trapped in subway tunnels and commuters cautiously returned to the Underground. Police said the bodies of 49 people had been recovered but warned the number of deaths would rise from Thursday’s See LONDON, Page 3ASaudi Arabia up close By Melissa Johnson StaffWriter A ninth-grade Canyon High School teacher recently learned that Blue Bell Ice Cream is not an American phenomenon. While on a weeklong trip to Saudi Arabia, sponsored by the Institute of International Education, Linda Hammon and 18 other teachers were surprised to find Blue Bell and Dr Pepper stocking the shelves of a local market. “A few teachers bought a pint and a six-pack and took it back to their hotels rooms,” Hammon said. “It was a little bit of home." While ice cream and soda were a welcome surprise for the group, Herman said their stay in the country was more about experiencing Saudi life and culture firsthand than seeking out the comforts of home. In keeping with the law of the land, the female teachers wore long, flowing overdresses called abayas and the men donned thaws, or lengthy cotton shirts, while touring the country. Most of the teachers’ meal were authentic Middle Eastern fare, consisting of lamb, hummus, pits, eggplant and fresh seafood. Desserts were traditional fare, like mali — a bread pudding made with pistachios and coni flakes. Herman said Saudi Arabia’s cuisine has also borrowed and adapted food from other cultures, so it was not uncommon to find Italian, Lebanese and Mediterranean influences on the menu. “The meals were huge and our hosts were so gracious,” I lammon said. “They fed us every three hours.” Guides escorted the group through arid, flat-roofed cities, vis- OAVID INGRAM Herald-Zeitung Canyon High School geography teacher Linda Hammon talks about her trip to Saudi Arabia while wearing her abaya. Below, Hammon poses with a local during her trip to Saudi Arabia. its to local schools and shopping excursions to local markets. I lammon, a geography and art history teacher, said the group felt very safe and was well received. “We would ask them questions and they would ask about how we did things in America," I lammon said. “Their attitude was, We want to learn as much about you as you learn about us.”’ Although some teachers did not speak Arabic, others, like Hammon, spoke enough to get around. However, most students in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia — as its known by residents — have been learning English since first grade and are fluent by the time they graduate high school. The main difference I lammon observed between Saudi Arabian and American schools is that boys and girls are separated. Each school has boys and girls classrooms, two libraries, two gyms and See SAUDIS, Page 3AUPDATES Tracking the newsCharges pending LAST WE KNEW: A man was arrested for alleged public intoxicationTuesday night after an altercation on Hill Street in which resident Jaime Martinez was injured. Possible assault charges are pending. LATEST: No charges have been filed. NEXT: The case will be closed if Martinez does not file charges. Outside firm likely to lead search for new city manager By Leigh Jones StaffWriter The clock is ticking on New Braunfels' search for a new city manager, and die process is just getting started. Outgoing city hall leader Chuck Pinto made his move to League City final last week, giving Mayor Bruce Boyer until Sept. I to begin the process of finding a replacement. Pinto’s resignation could not have come at a busier time, with council trying to balance next year’s budget and adopt two major new ordinances—landscaping and streets and sidewalks. While council members could conduct the search themselves, Boyer said he would prefer to hire a professional search finn to help streamline die process. “We’ve already been contacted by two companies. One of them was probably the finn diat took Chuck to League City,” he said, laughing. Boyer said he liked the idea of using a finn because it was experienced in knowing what to look for. Councilwoman Valerie I lull agreed widi Boyer, saying it would lie overly time consuming for all seven members to pour over as many as KXI applications. “If we use a finn, they will go through those applications for us and bring us the best ones, based on what we tell them we’re looking for," she said. “Based on my experience as an employer, that makes sense.” Boyer was uncertain about whether die city would be able to function widiout hiring an interim before a permanent candidate could be found. The city does have a deputy city manager. (Tty Attorney C Jiarlie Tech, but Boy er did not say whether he felt Zech could take over die helm temporarily. lf council agrees to hire a finn to conduct the search. Boyer said he hoped to have one on the trail of New Braunfels’ next city manager within 30 days. “Sept. I will get here pretty quickly," he saki “We need to get moving on diis as fast as possible." Council members will discuss their options Monday during a closed-door meeting at the end of die council meeting.UPDATES V Tracking the newsSearch continues LAST WE KNEW: A Canyon Lake woman went missing just after midnight Sunday. She was last seen on the lake. LATEST: Comal County Sheriff's Office officials identified the missing woman as Virginia Bias, 34. Bias goes by the name “Kathy." NEXT: Divers and sheriff's deputies are continuing lake searches. OPPORTUNITY OF A LIFETIME Canyon teacher seesamerican Owned. Born Here. Brewed Here. , /////few /?// i</i The cnl\ ma tor bt ewer that's still American Owned.^g ;