New Braunfels Herald Zeitung (Newspaper) - April 14, 1991, New Braunfels, Texas
Herald Zeitung, New Braunfels, Texas
Sunday, April 14, 1991
Sydonia Rompel of the Dittlinger Memorial Library, left, accepts a copy of the book The Texas Connection by Robert H. Thonhoff from Marilyn Houde, center, librarian of the Capt. James Jack Chapter, National Society of Daughters of the American Revolution, and Delitha Guenzel, the groups regent. (Photo by Erik Karlsson)
Library sets special activities
Special activities are planned at Tye Preston Memorial Library in Saltier in observance of National Library Week, today through Saturday.
On Monday, the Friends of the Library will begin a book sale featuring Big Tex, the Cedar Deer of Canyon Lake by Betty Gibbs. Illustrations are by Nancy Lucas and Edina K. Hasty. Layout and typesetting are by Shirley Pilus.
On Tuesday, there will be an autograph puny at the library from 11 a.m. to noon.
On Wednesday, the library will host a recruiting session and orienta-
• don for anyone interested in helping
• with the pre-kindergarten story ume.
• Time is from IO to 11 a.m.
From IO to ll a.m.Thursday, Margaret Bains of Wimberly will present
• a review of the book Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistlestop Cafe by Fannie Flagg. Coffee and light refreshments will be served.
On Friday, Storytime for children ages 3 to 5 will be conducted from IO to 11 a.m.
Free balloons and bookmarks will be presented each day to children visiting the library during National Library Week.
PIM Fbi. Adv.-Dom tom*, Tmm.
Judge well-schooled for case
By SCOTT ROTHSCHILD Associated Press Writer
AUSTIN — F. Scott McCown enjoys walking around Town Lake,
• reading books and being with his .family.
• He has a penchant for bow ties and looks younger than his age, 35.
) So why is he is one of the most feared men in Texas?
On Monday, State District Judge McCown will consider the latest attempt by the Legislature to fix the public school finance system, which has twice been declared unconstitutional by the Texas Supreme Court.
At a 9 a.m. hearing, McCown will consider the plan passed late Thursday that would shift hundreds of millions of dollars in local property tax money from wealthier to poorer school districts within new education regions, drawn largely along county lines.
It would set a minimum local property tax rate, and it would cost the state an extra SI.3 billion over the next two years.
McCown feels the pressure cf deciding the fate of millions of school children. But as a new father, he said, “It’s nothing like the pressure of taking care of this new kid.”
On April 7, his son, Michael Finnin McCown, was bom.
“Right now, I’m just trying to get him to eat and sleep,” McCown said. He also has a 9-year-old stepdaughter, Katherine.
Lawmakers have lost sleep over McCown’s insistence that Texas school children, whether they live in
• affluent Highland Park or povcrty-! stricken San Elizario, must have equal ! education funding.
“Take back the message that they
• are all our children, and that the funds
• must be disbursed equally,’’ McCown ! told the state’s attorney when he sche-
• duled Monday’s hearing.
Ironically, five years ago, McCown
• was a slate attorney facing an impa-! lient federal judge demanding prison I reform in the massive Ruiz lawsuit.
; U.S. District Judge William Wayne
• Justice threatened Texas with ! $800,000 per day fines for failing to ’ reduce its overcrowded prison popu-| lation, and McCown, as an assistant
• attorney general, was the lead counsel I for the state.
I McCown says he is proud of his
• work in that case.
“There weren’t ever any fines lev-! ied against die state,” he said. “It was
• a massive undertaking in a short
• amount of time. A good defense
• lawyer in any field of law will help his I client gel into compliance with the
After VA years in the attorney gen-! eral’s office, McCown successfully ran for a slate district judge scat in
• Travis County. In October 1989, State i District Judge Harley Clark resigned ‘ in mid-term and assigned the school ' finance case to McCown.
• “He asked if I would take it, and I ! said, ‘Yes.’ I thought it would be
interesting,” McCown said.
Mike Hodge, an assistant attorney general and McCown’s friend, said no one is better suited for the compli-, cated school finance case.
"He is a very calm person who is probably the smartest lawyer that I have ever known or worked with. He has the ability to get to the heart of a problem quickly,” Hodge said.
“Most people’s first impression is lo underestimate him, which is a genuine mistake,” Hodge said.
Steve Hall, a former administrative
assistant in the attorney general’s office, said McCown’s deft handling of the Legislature and court in the prison lawsuit “gives him a very broad perspective of the forces at work” in the current school funding case.
McCown was bom in Dalhart, raised in Dumas and then his family moved to Fort Worth, where he was graduated from high school. He received his bachelor’s degree from Texas Christian University and law degree from the University of Texas Law School in 1979.
His father, Frank McCown, is a former U.S. attorney, now in private practice in Fort Worth. He has two brothers, one a lawyer, the other an accountant.
After school, McCown practiced law at the huge Vinson & Elkins firm in Houston, then taught civil procedure at UT’s law school for XA years before joining the attorney general’s office.
McCown said he enjoyed leaching, but missed the courtroom. Also, he said, he always wanted to be a judge and each job he has taken has been in preparation for that goal.
McCown refuses to talk about the school finance lawsuit, since it is still pending.
But there are few others who have not offered an opinion on the subject.
His court keeps a folder containing about 50 letters from concerned citizens, school officials and politicians.
Most citizens ask that he not raise property taxes for schools. About an even number of writers either praise or condemn him, and some offer their own plans.
The folder is spiced with a few obscene letters, while others admit to changing their opinion of him as the school case progresses.
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Board maintains tobacco stocks
AUSTIN (AP) — The State Board of Education voted Saturday to keep its lucrative tobacco stocks despite protests from some who said ownership of the shares sends conflicting signals to school children.
In an 8-6 vote, the Education Board rejected a proposal to divest 1.5 million shares of Philip Morris Cos. stock from the Permanent School Fund.
On Friday, board member Jack Christie, a Houston chiropractor, called for the divestiture saying, “We teach our children that smoking is wrong. Yet we encourage sales to 6 million children under the age of 18.* ’ Ron Turk, of the University of Tex
as Students Against Tobacco Investments, said it is hypocritical for the education system to profit from the addictive substance.
The Education Board oversees the multibillion-dollar Permanent School Fund that helps fund public schools. The fund’s portfolio includes Philip Morris stock worth at least $94 million.
“Respectable institutions should not profit from children’s tobacco addiction,” Turk said.
Other board members said selling the tobacco stocks would not prevent adolescents from smoking and would open the school fund to other protests.
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