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New Braunfels Herald-Zeitung (Newspaper) - May 9, 2000, New Braunfels, Texas NEW PELS HERALDZ Vol 149 No 122 14 pages in 2 sections May 9 2000 TUESDAY Serving Comal County since 1852 50 cents Eight jailed in cockfight raid BY RON MALONEY Staff Writer SOLMS A monthslong investigation into illegal cock fighting culminated early Sunday in a large scale raid in which eight of them New Braunfels residents were arrested on charges of gambling money laundering and organized crime About 75 officers from the Department of Public Safety and other agencies including the Comal County Sheriffs Office surrounded the alleged operation at 5152 FarmtoMarket Road 482 shortly after midnight Sunday morning The raid began when a DPS Special Weapons and Tactics team entered the property to secure two residences there and the perimeter of the grounds A police helicopter lit the area with floodlights said Tom Vinger spokesman for DPS RON State and local lawmen reported they raided an alleged cockfight operation at 5152 FarmtoMarket Road 482 early Sunday The lights revealed an operation that included rings or pits with foldup theatertype seats an open bam and facilities for feeding and housing hundreds of chickens Patrons of the operation began climbing fences and running off through the woods the officials said but about 300 were corralled onsite pho tographed identified checked for outstanding warrants and then estimated about 100 or more might have escaped Booked into Comal County Jail on charges of keeping a gambling place money laundering engaging in an organized crime activity and cru elty to animals were Domingo R Hernandez 54 Mario R Hernandez 41 and Christopher L Soto 26 all of New Braunfels Anthony R Lee 40 Leesville Daniel Lopez 30 McDade Antho ny W Clark 40 Seguin Leslie R Hastings 42 Elgin and Domingo P Hernandez 29 of San Antonio Additionally George P Rodriguez 41 of New Braunfels was booked for suspected public See Friends Drowned man could swim well FROM STAFF REPORTS Friends of a 25year old quadri plegic who drowned in the Guadalupe River Saturday evening said the man was an active swim mer although it was his first tubing trip down the river Kelly Butler a friend of the vie tim who was at the scene at the time of the drowning reported the man was Phillip Nicholas Roshon She said Price 25 lived in Venice and Austin and his family lived in Florida Butler said Price was a certified scuba diver who loved to swim and had previously lived in Hawaii Price and Butler were part of a tubing group that included mem bers of a wheelchair rugby group from Austin Butler said the group of which some members were quadriplegic went tubing on the Guadalupe Riv er every year but it was Prices first time Saturday Butler said although Price was quadriplegic he could still use his arms to swim Emergency dispatch reported a possible drowning on the Guadalupe River in the 1200 block of Sleepy Hollow about Saturday Witnesses reported Price was tubing behind the main group when he got out to swim He disappeared all Butler said We all felt Rescue workers spent three hours searching the river Divers with the Canyon Lake Dive Team were on the scene by and recovered Prices body about where he was last seen by witnesses Letter carrier hurt in rollover ERIN A 44yearold New Braunfels woman and local rural mail carrier was airlifted to a San Antonio hospital after her Jeep flipped three times Monday afternoon on Texas 46 near Mission Valley Road Mail truck flips on Texas 46 BY ERIN MAGRUDER Staff Writer A 44yearold rural mail carrier with the New Braunfels Post Office was transported by helicopter to a San Antonio hospital Monday afternoon after she lost control of her mail Jeep and flipped three times on Texas 46 near Mission Val ley Road As of press time Monday New Braunfels resident Peggy Harper was listed as in either stable or critical condition at University Hospital New Braunfels Police Department offi cer Frank Moreno said Harper suffered facial lacerations knee injuries and abra sions on her legs and torso and might have been ejected from the Jeep in the rollover New Braunfels Fire and Rescue personnel said The 1977 mail carrier Jeep was headed westbound in the 2600 block of Texas 46 about when Harper report edly lost control of the vehicle NBPD Lt John Wommack said The Jeep traveled about 75 to 100 feet on the shoulder of the road before Harper most likely overcorrected the vehicle causing it to flip multiple times NBPD officers said We have received conflicting stories about whether she was ejected from the Moreno said Some wit nesses said she was and others said she Were just not sure at this What is known is that the Jeep came to rest upside down in the center of Texas 46 By the time police and EMS arrived Harper was lying in the center of the highway not far from the Jeep witnesses said Exactly how Harper ended up in the middle of the highway was unknown Monday night New Braunfels Fire and Rescue Captain Ray Hacker said Harper the only occupant of the Jeep was alert and conscious at the time of transport She is a very lucky he said NBPD officers routed traffic around the accident site while post office employees gathered going mail scattered around the Jeep INSIDE JBMIIWWIB Driver in fatal wreck gets 15year sentence BY HEATHER TODD Staff Writer The parents of a 3year old boy killed in placed their sonfc picture in front of the Comal County woman sentenced Monday to IS years in prison for causing his death This is my a sobbing Noreta Rutherford the mother of Joshua Ruther ford said while pointing to the picture on District Judge Gary Steelfc bench Mon day morning Canyon Lake resident Melissa Watson Choina 32 was sentenced to 1S years in You got the boys father said My son Choina was charged with intoxication manslaughter and intoxication assault in connection with the July 1999 accident that killed Joshua Rutherford and criti cally injured four other family members The accident occurred about noon July 8 on FarratoMarket 306 A Coma County grand jury indicted IS endures flfJBteiaaiiai manslaughter and four of intaJu CHOINA You got off easy My son Ray Rutherford ferttw of victim 0IlwMlw cation assault with a motor vehicle Choina was arrested by Comal County Sheriffs officers Oct 27 and released from Comal County Jail in November on a bond The grand jury also returned an affir mative finding of the use of a deadly i Ford Mustang Choina was i SeeDRIVEFvtA Council OKs tax increase BY HEATHER TODD Staff Writer The average homeowner in New Braunfels will pay about more on their tax bills after New Braun fels City Council approved a 2 percent tax rate increase Monday The city council approved a per valuation tax rate that could increase the citys total tax revenues by 10 percent despite protests from one resident that the tax rate was unnecessary in light of recent prop erty appraisals The newest notices of appraised value began arriv ing May 2 in the mailboxes of owners of about half the property in the Comal Appraisal District Local resident Walter Sears said he had a 10 percent increase on his property values this year and said others have reported up to an 18 percent increase I see no reason why we should feel shameful that we have a lower tax rate than many other cities of comparable he said In view of the appraisals we shouldnt add any new tax onto the citizens We should hold the rate as last The average household with a value of about already pays a year in property taxes The 2 percent increase would bring that total to or about a increase The current tax rate is per 100 valuation The maximum allowable tax rate possible without requiring a rollback election is per val uation a rate that would cost the average household With the 32cent tax rate the city could get about more in revenue than the effective tax rate of per valuation The effective tax rate generates the same amount of property tax as the previous year Chet Lewis chief financial officer said as proper ty values increased the effective tax rate decreased which meant the city would not collect more rev enue unless council raised the tax rate Overall no additional money would be received by the city except for new construction or newly annexed he said Council unanimously approved the per valuation tax rate and a million budget for fiscal year 2001 The budget is about million more than the million budget council adopted last year The 2001 budget includes spending on downtown improvements and on media equipment and improvements for council chambers The budget will become effective July 1 The general fund budget for street repairs will stay the same as this past year at A number of new items to the citys million budget include in capital machinery and equipment for the golf course for library computer equipment for two new sanitation drivers and two sanitation collectors and for sanitationrelated vehicles SeeCOUNCIUSA
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