New Braunfels Herald Zeitung (Newspaper) - September 23, 2005, New Braunfels, Texas
Friday, September 23, 2005 — Herald-Zeitung — Page 5A
26 evacuees find a home in New Braunfels
By Jessica Sanders
Hurricane Rita blew 26 people onto Charles Rogers’ doorstep, and he expects even more visitors before the storm touches down.
“They’re a happy group,” he said, surrounded by guests in his New Braunfels home. "There’s never a dull moment.”
Rogers said he and his wife, Pat, welcomed extended family into their home, but the numbers kept growing to include friends, inlaws and church members from Bay City and Wadsworth. They are also playing host to three dogs and a cat.
“Every room is packed, but everyone is sweet and gets along,” Pat Rogers said. “Right now, we don’t know what’s going to happen, but hopefully they’ll all be able to go back to everything that they left.”
Charles Rogers said the guests are sleeping on mattresses, cots and in backyard tents. Though it’s crowded, snoring seems to be the only complaint.
Bay City residents Krystal Rush, 16, and Adrianna Zuniga, 12, kept themselves busy Thursday afternoon by styling each other’s hair in one of the Rogers’ bedrooms.
"I don’t mind because I know everybody," Krystal said. “It’s fun.”
Adrianna, the Rogers’ granddaughter, agreed that her family and friends were staying lighthearted in the wake of the hurricane.
“It’s a blast,” she said. “I’m not worried about my house because we prayed over all our stuff."
Gloria Zamora said she also felt that God was taking care of her family during the
Hurricane Rita evacuees watch television coverage of the approaching storm in the home of Chuck ant Patricia RogersThursday afternoon.
evacuation process. Though she is safe in New Braunfels, Zamora’s husband is still in Bay City boarding up their house.
“We’re very grateful for (Charles) and Pat, we don’t now what we would do without them,” she said.
“We thought we would just have to find somewhere to
Zamora’s brother-in-law, Rudy, said he was glad to have gotten out of town when he did. Though he said he was worried about his home and Harley Davidson motorcycle, Rudy has already made a backup plan.
“I guess Iii just stay here,” he said, grinning at Charles Rogers. “I do expect some damage, we’re only 25 miles from the coastline.”
The Rogers’ daughter, Charlotte Zuniga, said she was not too worried about her house, but did find the evacuation trip stressful.
“We stopped at a McDonald’s and we couldn't get in because it was packed,” she said. “Everything in Bay City was already boarded up and
there was nowhere to eat.”
Charles Rogers said that without the help of neighbors, Sts. Peter and Paul Catholic Church and Rock Hills Baptist Church, they might not have been able to welcome so many displaced friends into their home.
Churches supplied bedding and other items while neighbor James Vincent brought them a small airconditioning unit for the garage.
“I was apprehensive at first about having so many people here,” he said. “My neighbors really helped out a lot. They put up with the noise, people coming in at I a.m., dogs fighting...”
Charlotte Zuniga said New Braunfels residents have been truly gracious hosts. She said being surrounded by good friends and studying the Bible verse Matthew 6:31-33 help keep her strong in an unsure situation.
“We want to thank the people of New Braunfels who have reached out and supplied our needs,” she said. “God will reward you greatly.”
CONTINUED FROM Page IA
Churches provide shelter to evacuees
medication with them. All they need is a place to stay and something to eat," she said.
Thanks to community resources organized for the last round of evacuees who came through town, other local aid groups are prepared to meet other needs.
Judy Baker, local Salvation Army manager, said her office would provide gas vouchers, if people could find a place to fill up their tanks.
Families needing extra food can find help at the SOS Food Bank, which has received 30,000 pounds of food since Aug. 31.
While he encouraged evacuees to take advantage of the facility’s full shelves, manager Tom Barrett stressed the shelves could empty very quickly.
“This community has been so generous in helping us help the evacuees, but that does not mean we will never have a need again," he said.
New Braunfels Mayor Bruce
Boyer, who was working to get more shelters opened as soon as possible, said he was confident New Braunfelsers would step up to offer assistance.
"At this point, the biggest need is for food and money,” he said. “I think we have everything else taken care of.”
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Even as storm moves east, county officials make sure they’re ready for disaster
By Ron Maloney
As late projections suggested Hurricane Rita’s track could move the bulk of tropical winds and rains east of New Braunfels, county officials outlined readiness plans Thursday.
Comal County Emergency Management Coordinator Carol Edgett told commissioners’ court the latest stonn tracks showed Rita taking a slight turn to the north for a likely landfall at the east tip of Galveston Island.
With counterclockwise rotation, that track would put the highest winds and rains well east of New Braunfels, said Edgett, who is keeping in touch with the Texas Division of Emergency Management four times each day by conference call.
Friday afternoon forecasts, she said, called for a 20-per-cent chance of rain in the afternoon with 15- to 20-mph winds.
“The fair parade should go off without a hitch,” Edgett said.
Friday night projections called for a 50-percent chance of rain with 20-mph winds,
while Saturday’s early forecast is for a 60 percent chance of rain, again with 20-mph winds.
“The projection Wednesday had been for 60-mph winds Saturday, and the storm moving further east has lessened our projected wind,” Edgett said. “Of course, you don’t know what you’re going to get until the storm gets on land.”
Edgett said the recent devastation of New Orleans and nearby Louisiana and Mississippi by Hurricane Katrina has heightened awareness. While that has meant Texans living in coastal areas have evacuated early, it has caused other concerns.
“We’ve even had calls asking if we’re going to evacuate New Braunfels,” Edgett said. “Its been that crazy.”
Locally, no shelters were open Thursday, even though many members of the community were privately taking in friends and family from the coast.
The state shelter system administered by the American Red Cross, Edgett said, is set up so folks coming up from the coast are first sheltered at “hubs” such as in San
Antonio, where shelters opened for Katrina evacuees are now beginning to house Houston and Corpus Christi-area evacuees displaced by Rita.
County Judge Danny Scheel said the county is prepared for whatever comes.
“We are ready. I spoke with Bexar County yesterday and told them we were prepared to help if called up,” Scheel said. "I want our residents to be listening to the radio and reading their newspapers to keep up with developments.”
County Engineer rom Hornseth said road crews were on standby and ready with low water barricades if they proved to be needed Saturday.
“The local situation is good,” I lornseth said, noting fuel problems reported along the interstates leading from the coast would not affect the county’s emergency vehicles.
“We have plenty of fuel for our vehicles, and our trucks are loaded up with barricades,” Hornseth said. “We’re expecting some wind, but we’re not worried about having anvilling beyond a normal good rain event.
Shift to the east could spare much of Texas from Rita
HOUSTON (AP) —Hurricane Rita closed in on the Texas Gulf Coast and the heart of the U.S. oil-refining industry with howling 145 mph winds Thursday, but a sharper-than-expected turn to the right set it on a course that could spare Houston and nearby Galveston a direct hit The storm’s march toward land sent hundreds of thousands of people fleeing in a frustratingly slow, bumper-to-bumper exodus.
“This is the worst planning Ive ever seen,” said Judie Anderson, who covered just 45 miles in 12 hours after setting out from her home in the Houston suburb of LaPorte. “They say we’ve learned a lot from Hurricane Katrina. Well, you couldn’t prove it by me.”
In all, nearly 2 million people along the Texas and Louisiana coasts were urged to get out of the way of Rita, a 400-mile-wide storm that weakened
Thursday from a top-of-the-scale Category 5 hurricane to a Category 4 as it swirled across the Gull' of Mexico.
The storm’s course change could send it away from I lous-ton and Galveston mid instead draw the hurricane toward Port Arthur or Lake Charles, lit., by late Friday.
But it was still an extremely dangerous storm — and one aimed at a section of coastline with the nations biggest concentration of oil refineries.
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