New Braunfels Herald Zeitung (Newspaper) - December 7, 1982, New Braunfels, Texas
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Surprise—county tax rate praised
By JACQUELINE SMITH Staff writer
Only one person showed up Monday afternoon at the county’s public hearing held to discuss raising taxes.
And that one person — Merritt Schumann, head of the Comal County Industrial Foundation — wasn’t there to complain. He had nothing but good things to say about the proposed county tax rate.
“The only tax bill I enjo£ getting is Comal County’s because it’s so low,” Schumann told Commissioners Court at the late afternoon public hearing.
"I can’t get over how low it is,” Schumann noted.
“Oh but Mr. Schumann it may not always stay that way,” remarked County Judge Max Wommack.
“Well it’ll have to go a long way to catch up with
the school (districts’ tax rates),” Schumann responded.
Comal Commissioners Court is proposing a new tax rate of 23-cents per $100 valuation. This new tax rate, which the court will set next Monday, is a 10-cent decrease over last year’s rate.
Although the actual tax rate proposed by the court is lower than last year’s, the court was legally required to hold Monday’s public hearing to discuss a ‘ tax increase.”
“The reasons for the increase in taxes and this hearing,” County Auditor Bate Bond explained, ‘‘is due to the difference in the appraised values from last year to this year.”
‘‘It also has to do with the computed tax rate from the County Tax Assessor Collector,” which this year is 15.0434 cents, Bond said. In order to meet the proposed 1983 budget, however, the county is
proposing a 23-cent tax rate, he added.
The tax rate “is not actually a 50 percent tax raise (as the court was required to advertise for), there’ll be a 16 percent actual increase in dollars due to come into the county,” Bond explained.
There is a 50 percent increase in the “computed effective tax rate,” Bond said. But there only be a 16 percent increase in actual tax dollars coming into the county, he added.
Property values listed on this year’s county tax rolls have gone up because the Central Appraisal District reassessed each parcel at fair market value. So even though the county sets a lower tax rate, property owners might still be paying more taxes.
Some homeowners, however, might still be paying less county tax due to the 40 percent homestead
See TAX, Page 14
We are grateful for the response to our “Cheer Fund,” which we have established to provide needy families with a Christmas dinner this holiday season. Here are our most recent contributors:
Randy and Mary Jo Dry $25
Mrs Virginia Graves Webb $25 Mr. and Mrs Wendell Headrick .
Alvin B Welsch ............$25
Margaret and Missy Cox $10
Something Good Restaurant. . $10
Jeff and Tammy Albrecht .... $10 Carol and Ken Brazle canned food Anonymous canned food
New balance .............$648
We deeply appreciate your support For more information, contact Don Avery at 625-9144.
JBl. New ^!b!eU Braunfels
New Braunfels, Texas
Vol. 91 - No. 237 14 Pages
December 7,1982 25 cents
Texas inmate dies by lethal injection
One child is trying to make sure about Saint Nickolaus and his beard last Friday at the Sophienburg Museum Nickolaus paid an early visit
Stuff photo by C»>dy Rtchutdsue'
to find out if the children had been good and to give away candy. During the visit, Betty Remarz taught the children a Christmas prayer
HUNTSVILLE (AP) — Convicted murderer Charlie Brooks Jr., commending his soul to Allah and urging his girlfriend to “be strong,” today became the first U.S. prisoner executed by lethal injection.
Seven minutes after the fatal dose of sodium Pentothal was administered at 12:09 a.m.. the 40-year-old Brooks was pronounced dead.
Brooks’ body was moved from the Huntsville Funeral Home to the Harris County Medical Examiners Office in Houston. An autopsy, performed by Chief Medical Examiner Joseph Jachimczyk. began at 6:30 a m., said spokesman Cecil Wingo.
Wingo said a final report detailing the cause of death “probably won’t be completed for several days.”
Brooks’ lawyers tried repeatedly Monday to delay his execution for the 1976 murder of a F ort Worih used car salesman.
. He was only the second prisoner to be executed while still pursuing appeals since the U.S Supreme Court allowed reinstitution of the death penalty iii 1974 after a seven-year hiatus.
He was the sixth person to die since the reinstitution, and the first black. Texas’ last execution was in 1964
Brooks’ final plea to the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals was turned down at ll :54 p.m., and at 12:01 a m. authorities at the Texas Department of Corrections Walls Unit got permission from Gov. Bill Clements to proceed.
Wearing gold pants and a brown shirt open down the front, Brooks was strapped to a medical cart with an intravenous needle in his right arm The tubes snaked behind a curtain where an unseen prison employee was ready to start the flow of the drugs.
Brooks’ former wife, Joyce, and his two sons, Adrian and Derek, were denied permission to witness the execution and waited angrily in the prison’s foyer. Brooks was allowed to choose only three witnesses. He selected Miss Sapp and two Islamic chaplains.
Outside the prison, some university students from Sam Houston State University in Huntsville said they gathered to “cheer” for prison officials because, one of them said, “we feel it’s right.”
Death penalty opponents gathered in Huntsville. Dallas and outside the Capitol in Austin for silent vigils.
On Monday, Brooks ate a last meal of steak, french fries and peach cobbler He met with Islamic minister I^arry Amin Sharrieff and relatives while awaiting word on the Supreme Court’s decision.
“His life has been turned over to God,” said Brooks niece. Berne Jean Mitchell. "He said he was very high-spirited and he has very high hopes. ”
“He says he has found complete peace ... He feels if it goes through then he will tie in paradise," Sharrieff said.
The drug chosen by Texas to kill condemned criminals is sodium thiopental, better known as sodium Pentothal or truth serum Two other chemicals also are used to assure death — Pavulon, a muscle relaxant, and potassium chloride.
Brooks was sentenced to die for the Dec 14, 1976, murder of David Gregory, 26, w ho had gone with hun on a test drive of a car from the Fort Worth used car lot where Gregory worked. Gregory, his hands and feet bound, w as shot once in the head.
Another man, Woody Ixiudres, was convicted in a separate trial of murdering Gregory, but evidence did not indicate who pulled the trigger and neither defendant has revealed which it was.
Going on the road
Commissioners seeking data on other jailsInside
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Condemned man prayed, reassured his 'mate' before lethal injection
Comal Commissioners are taking advantage of other counties’ mistakes Since last week. members of Commissioners Court have traveled to other county jails to learn firsthand what Comal County might avoid in planning for its new county jail.
Comal County is required to have a new jail ready for occupancy no later than August, 1985, according to an out-of-court lawsuit settlement, yet to be approved by a federal judge Comm J I. "Jumbo” Evans, the court’s bason with Holt-Fatter and Scott, the architectural firm working on the county’s jail expansion plans, noted Monday that he and Cumins. Charles “Tart” Mund and Monroe Wetz had visited jails iii lxK khart and
In order to meet its self-imposed self-destruct date in late February, the Comal County Growth and Development Committee has shifted into high gear.
Committee Chairman Charles Kmbbe was responsible for shifting these gears Monday when he imposed intermediate and final deadlines for his group to meet its goals.
These goals — to identify the county’s top problems in relation to population growth and tourism — were asssigned to the 13-member county-wide committee last summer by Commissioner Court Upon completition of its study, the committee will submit a written report of its findings and recommendations to the court.
San Marcos Today, they planned to travel to Burnet and Brownwood to visit jails there, he said From these visits, commissioners not only gained ideas for the new Comal County Jail, but also learned how to avoid making the same mistakes other counties did in planning for their jails, Evans said Evans’ group was also surprised to learn of alternative funding methods — other than a public bond issue for financing the new county jail, Evans noted.
"We’ve learned that it may be better to go with certificates of obligation rather than bonds,” Evans told the court. At the recommendation of Sheriff Walter Fellers
This study will probably be used by the court to uifluence the Texas legislature < at some future date) into passing new laws which might help Comal County battle its on-going battle with tourism and growth-related problems.
Knibbe, from Spring Branch, emphasized the unportance of his committee meeting the February deadline at the group’s monthly meeting Monday at the Courthouse.
"We’re going into the lith hour,” said Knibbe. “I realize that we’d all like a little more time...I know the finance committee is just breaking ground...but we’ve got to put on th^ pressure to meet our deadline. ” Knibbe was the first to put the pressure on. He requested that his six
and the Jail Standards Commission, Evans said he would like to visit at least "three or four" more county jails iii the next week.
By Dec. 15, he promised to have a written report of his group s findings from these visits ready to present to Commissioners Court.
Project Manager Ijirry Janousek and Phil Scott, vice president, of Holt-Fatter and Scott met with Comal Commissioners Monday to present the court with the final form of their demographic study.
The architects also offered the court four alternative "compensation packages,” which outline how the architects’ fees for working on the jail
See JAIL, Page 14
subcommittee chairmen — none of w filch were present Monday — submit written summary reports of their findings at his steering committee’s next meeting, tentatively set for Jan. 6.
While still in its forming stages last sununer, Knibbe’s committee divided itself into six small subcomittees to study various areas and aspects of the county. These six areas included Canyon I .ake, the upper and lower Guadalupe River and the county’s water supply (quality and quantity) and roads and public safety.
A finance committee, responsible for coming up w ith ways in which the other subcorimiittees’ suggestions can
See GROWTH, Page 14Today's Weather
It will be sunny and mild today, with increasing cloudiness late tonight, and intermittent and light ram or drizzle tonight and Wednesday. It will be mostly cloudy and cooler by Wednesday afternoon. Winds will be from the southeast at 5-10 mph today and tonight. Probability of rain is 20 percent late tonight, and 30 percent Wednesday morning Sunset will be at 5:32 p in., and sunrise Wednesday will be at 7:13a.iii.Hoop Happenings
It was a good night for the Smithson Valley boys’s basketball team as they took a 55-40 win over the Hays Rebels. The New Braunfels and Canyon girls’ teams weren’t so fortunate, however — they both dropped close games. See Page 6
Editor’s Note Associated Press Correspondent Charles C. Hill was one of four witnesses to the execution early Tuesday of Charlie Brooks Jr Here is his report.
HUNTSVILLE (AP) - Charlie Brooks Jr. spent his last breaths praising Allah and proclaiming love for a former pen-pal he called his Islamic "mate.”
Then he gasped and wheezed and his stomach bucked up as the massive injection of sodium Pentothal took its toll and moved Brooks into a place iii history — the first U S inmate to be executed by lethal injection.
He was pronounced dead at 12:16 a.in. today, seven minutes after the lethal injection began.
Through it all, Vanessa Sapp gazed at him from behind a bar a few feet away. She stood with more than a dozen other witnesses, including four reporters and two Texas Department of Corrections board members After a final word from the governor’s office shortly after midnight, Warden Jack Pursley leaned on his cane and asked:
“Do you have any last words9”
"Yes I do,” Brooks replied He was strapped onto a hospital gurney , his arms held rigid perpendicular to his body.
He turned his head toward Ms, Sapp, a 27-year-old Fort Worth nurse he had met through an exchange of letters.
“I love you,” he said.
Ms. Sapp wore a gold wedding band she slipped on her finger after she and Brooks exchanged vows last week to commit themselves to each other for
tile next life, although they were not married. The two fell in love after meeting as pen pals while Brooks awaited his murder trial.
Brooks, who became a Muslim while in prison, then said a series of Islamic prayers interspersed by w ords of allegiance to Allah "I bear w itness that there is no God but Allah,” he said and was joined iii prayers by two Islamic chaplains he had chose in addition to Ms Sapp to witness his last moments.
"Verily unto Allah do we belong. Verily unto him do we return,” he intoned.
Behind the wall was his executioner, a prison medical technician whose name was not released Prison spokesman Kick Hartley later said that the director of the Texas Department of Corrections, Jim Estelle, also was in the death chamber, apparently behind the wall.
Brooks, clad in an open khaki shirt, gold trousers and black cloth slices, turned his head again toward Ms. Sapp
"Be strong,” he said His right hand clenched and relaxed and tile liquid flowed on. His eyes were wide open and displayed a nervousness not apparent in his voice Moments later, tile chemicals began showing their effects. Brooks gasped and wheezed, his mouth closed as air struggled past his lips He apjiearedtoyawn His right ann bounced up aud down slightly. The labored wheezing began once more. Then he fell silent.
He lay there, his eyes and mouth closed, as two prison doc tors checked for signs of life.
Growth panel to make 'big push'