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New Braunfels Herald Zeitung (Newspaper) - June 19, 2003, New Braunfels, Texas New Braunfels THURSDAY June 19, 2003 16 pages in 2 sections 16 pages in 2 SeCtKHer ald-Z eitung l.........................i......tiSziStSll.......i......... ..............................VIN * v",rVnTV.r IT •: - Vol. 152, No. 186. Serving New Braunfels and Comal County since 1852 50 cents Potter party planned for Saturday [JE tjy Potter By Dylan Jimenez Staff writer While the world waits for the fifth book in the Harry Potter series to go on sale Saturday, 260 copies of the book will be waiting patiently in a back room at Hastings Book, Music and Video in the Market-Place shopping center. The book, “Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix,” will be available for purchase one minute after midnight Saturday. To celebrate the release of the book, Hastings will host Harry Potter trivia games at IO p.m. and free pizza at ll p.m. Friday to entertain anticipated crowds. Employees also will be dressed in wizard costumes. More than half of the books have already been reserved, and the remaining copies will be sold on a first-come, first-served basis at a 45 percent discount. Gerri Gallegos, Hastings book manager, said employees have had many inquiries about the new release. She expects the store to sell out by the close of business Saturday. “Harry Potter is such a huge movement,” Gallegos said. “We have had so many people asking about it.” An avid Potter fan, Gallegos also has been anticipating the latest release of the best-selling series. She claims she won’t peak at the book once it arrives at Hastings until they officially go on sale. But she admits it is tempting. ‘Part of the fun is the anticipation,” Gallegos said, “and that everyone is going to enjoy it at the same time. I have to wait just like everyone else.” Gallegos expects just as many adults as kids Friday night, especially those who don’t want to fight the crowds of children Saturday. Hastings will host a release party with a magic show and a reading See POTTER/3A ■ ’-'V ■ w " Ag commissioner addresses child obesity problem By Sean Bowlin Staff Writer Agriculture Commissioner Susan Combs said Wednesday Texas is filii of overweight kids, qnd she thinks the food being served in schools could have something to do with it. Combs was in New Braunfels to address the Capitol Area School Health Leadership Institute, a long-term project sponsored by the American Cancer Society. The group held a meeting at the TBarM Ranch. Combs, who spoke on the topic of “Healthy Food for Healthy Kids,” said Texas is seeing an alarming increase in obesity in children — which can lead to heart disease, blindness, stroke and loss of limbs later in life. The problem is so severe, she said the state is going to COMBS conduct a study on childhood obesity. As part of the stud?, Combs, the state commissioner of health and the state commissioner of education will examine all food served to children in Texas’ schools. That study will include school breakfasts, school lunches and foods served from vending machines. Financial, physiological and sociological costs of the foods served will be examined, Combs said. The study will try to determine if health insurance premiums for school districts aw impacted by the obesity problem. Its not just the students who are overweight. Combs pointed out that in the South San Antonio Inde- See COMBS/3A Juneteenth holiday marks end of slavery in Texas By Dylan Jimenez Staff Writer Juneteenth — the anniversary of the end of slavery in Texas — will be celebrated today by blacks across the Lone Star State. Although the Emancipation Proclamation was issued on Jan. I, 1863, news of the freeing of slaves didn’t reach Texas until June 19, 1865 — more than two years later. The Rev. Bobby F. lewis of Allen Chapel African Methodist Episcopal Church said the holiday is about overcoming life’s obstacles. “Its a reminder that people before us were in slavery,” he said. The Texas holiday is See JUNETEENTH/3A A piece of history The Emancipation Proclamation — a 140-year-old original document issued by President Abraham Lincoln to tree American slaves — will be on display this weekend in San Antonio In celebration of Juneteenth, the historic document will be available for viewing from 10 a m. to 5 p.m. Thursday through Saturday and from noon to 5 p.m Sunday at the Witte Museum Lerone Bennett Jr.. writer and social historian and editor of Ebony magazine, wi speak at 3 p.m. Sunday. A reception will follow The talk is free with museum admission, which is $5.95 for adults. $4.95 for seniors and $3.95 for children more than 3 years old Inside Dear Abby...............SA Classifieds..............4-6B Comics..............10A Crossword............10A Forum................8A Movies................5A Sports...............1-2B Today.................2A Stocks................SA ti 56825 00001 £3 * tim AIR QUALITY Health Alert The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality and the Alamo Area Council of Governments has declared today an Air Quality Health Alert Day. ■ Reduce unnecessary vehicle driving ■ Carpool if possible or combine all errands into one trip ■ Avoid use of “drive through" lanes or services ■ Don’t refuel during daylight ■ Avoid use of gas-powered yard equipment ■ Avoid exterior painting Pollution levels are posted online at: thank NRCS for help with flood cleanup By Ron Maloney Staff Writer Comal County officials are praising the efforts of the federal agency that has twice come to the aid of this region after a flood emergency. Commissioners issued a proclamation Thursday lauding the Natural Resource Conservation Service for its cleanup of the river. The NRCS is a division of the U.S. Department of Agriculture dedicated to conserving agriculture, soil and water resources. It restored the Guadalupe River and its banks after the October 1998 flood and, county officials said, did a tremendous job. In 2002, the floodwater was rushing through New Braunfels when, on Saturday, July 6, County Engineer Tom Hornseth contacted the NRCS and asked if it was willing to come back to New Braunfels. “I was over in the EOC when we started getting all these damage reports,” Hornseth said. “I remembered from 1998 that the NRCS has limited resources and that they treat applications on a first-come, first-served basis. We were first, and it maximized the help we got.” “During that flood, we had a lot of agencies help us and some others not help us. The NRCS is the group that stood behind us IOO percent and those guys need a pat on the back,” Hornseth said. “Thee© federal agencies aren’t always appreciated, and they’re constantly under attack, and their budgets are being slashed. Of all the agencies we dealt with, the NRCS was the real team player.” Hornseth singled out NRCS state engineer John Mueller, area supervisor Tim Buscha and project manager I Ale Wei-derhold, who worked both cleanups. Precinct I Commissioner Jack Dawson shared his recoded ions of 1999, the last time he and Rehfel parted ways. “Butch, back in 1998 I enjoyed working with you and all the other people at the NRCS," Dawson said. “I shook your hand and said we’d probably never meet each other again, but I was wrong. 'Hus time, I’ll just say I hope I don’t see you again in four years.” Going out with a bloomExotic cactus plant flowers once before its 22-year-long life ends K. JESSIE SLATEN/Herald-Zeitung James Mosier stands next to the 22-year-old “century plant" in his yard that is blooming for the first, last and only time in its life. Blooming saps all of the nutrients and water from the plant, leaving the agave cactus a dying, brown, withered shadow of its former glory.All about the agave- ■ The agave cactus, or “century plant," dies after blooming. ■ The name century plant comes from a legend that the plant only flowered once every 100 years. Mast©' Gardener Vince Cavanaugh said the plants probably don’t take 100 years to bloom, but the term "century planf stuck because it takes a very long time for the cactus to flower. ■ The agave cactus is a native of Mexico and is often cultivated from Texas to Florida as an ornamental plant. It is also cultivated extensively in the West Indies and in Europe, along the Mediterranean. ■ The genus name agave is from the Greek word agave, meaning “noble." Other names in use for the plant are “Maguey,” “American Aloe," “Flowering Aloe" and “Spiked Aloe.’ By Sean Bowlin Staff Writer MCQUEENEY — James Mosier waited 22 years for his agave cactus plant to bloom. Now, he’ll have only weeks to enjoy it. “The agave plant blooms every 15 to 20 years,” said Mosier. “It’s sole purpose is to bloom. Then it dies.” Mosier pointed out the lemon-colored blooms on palms of the 20-foot tall plant. The cactus is growing against the fence in the front yard of his residence at 408 E. Zipp Road. “They’re very, very attractive,” Mosier said of the plants. “This is the second time we’ve had one bloom out here.” Mosier has two agave plants on his two-acre property that is festooned with plants and trees. He said the cactus grows 15 to 20 feet tall. Tile plant that is now blooming was planted 22 years ago. Mosier used to work for a company in Houston. While driving to work, he saw the plants along the highway near Fredericksburg and Kerrville. The plants were about a foot tall. “I dug ’em up, and I brought them here,” Mosier said. “I’ve got ’em scattered around here. I didn’t know anything about them at the time.” Mosier said it amuses him to see how tall the plant is today. But he knows his enjoyment will be short-lived. Some of the leaves on the plant are wilted, which means that even though the cactus is blooming, parts of the plant are beginning to die off. Mosier said he will keep the plant around for a while after it dies, dries up and turns brown. “If I had a boutique store, I could put it in there for decoration,” Mosier said. “I’ve been in Dallas in the stores up there, and something like that, they’d just go bonkers over it.” Mosier said the plants are hard to find because it can take years before the plant is large enough to clearly identify as an agave cactus. The plant is pretty easy to care for, Mosier said. “I do nothing,” he said. “It does its own thing, just sits out there. It doesn’t need any care, nothing. You could have a whole garden full, and you wouldn’t have to do anything. No care.” Mosier said the plants have thorns on See BLOOM/3A y ;