New Braunfels Herald Zeitung (Newspaper) - December 30, 1982, New Braunfels, Texas
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Comp.Latest economic data points to recovery
WASHINGTON (AP) - Nearing the year’s end on a promising note, the government said today its main forecasting gauge for national economic health rose 0.8 percent in November, the seventh gain in the past eight months.
Although many economists say the recession probably was persisting last month, the November gain in the Commerce Department’s Index of Leading Indicators appeared to be a new signal that there will be at least moderate recovery early in
Commerce Secretary Malcolm Baldrige said, “The good advance in November’s index points to an economy moving toward recovery. Both the size and the breadth of the improvement were favorable.”
“The leading index has shown a net increase of 5.3 percent since March,” he said in a statement. “This is below the average post-war gain of 10.7 percent over comparable periods and probably indicates that the business upturn will be moderate
in the early stages.”
In a separate report today, the Labor Department said Americans’ initial claims for unemployment benefits rose from 533,000 to 544,000 in the week ending Dec. 18. But the new claims were still far fewer than the weekly totals that exceeded 600,000 during most of the fall.
The leading-indicators index is a compilation of IO separate economic statistics covering a wide variety of areas, including layoffs, inflation, stock prices and orders for factory
goods. When most of those components rise, overall business activity is supposed to rise soon thereafter.
In November, the report said, seven of the indicators rose, led by a big increase in the nation’s money supply.
Also showing improvement were an increase in the average work week, a decline in initial unem-ployment-benefits claims and increases in orders for consumer goods, building permits for future
housing construction, prices of certain raw materials and stock prices.
Indicators showing weaker performance in November included business deliveries, total liquid assets and contracts and orders for new plants and equipment.
After declining for ll straight months, the index began a rise that has been interrupted only by a 0.5 percent decline in August. The index rose 0.8 percent in September and 0.3 percent in October.
Those three results were revised downward in the new report. They had been reported earlier as a decline of 0.2 percent and gains of 1.1 percent and Q.6 percent, respectively. The new November figure is also subject to later revision when more complete surveys are available.
In the past, the national economy has at least begun significant recovery within a few months after
See INDICATORS, Page 14
New Braunfels, Texas
Vol. 91 - No. 254 1 4 Pages
December 30, 1982
Lawyer's death ruled suicide
By DYANNE FRY Staff writer
The death of Brownsville attorney Peter Watts Dean has been ruled a suicide by Justice of the Peace K G. Blanchard
Blanchard made his pronouncement Wednesday, having just returned from a holiday trip. Investigation into Dean's death, and an autopsy of his remains, were completed before Christmas. The Travis County Medical Examiner determined that cyanide poisoning was the cause of death.
Texas Ranger Ray Martinez and Comal County Sheriff’s Investigator Rudy Rubio worked on the case “We all felt pretty strongly that it was suicide,” Blanchard said Wednesday. “But this guy was involved in so many things, we had to check things out.”
Dean’s body was found on the morning of Dec. 21 in the back of a Chevrolet Blazer parked off Smithsons Valley Road A tumbler of cyanide-laced Coca-Cola was found
in the vehicle. Blanchard said Dean had also written a note on a piece of 84x11 paper, asking whoever found him to call his wife, Paulette, or his father-in-law. Paul Siltier of San Antonio. Phone numbers were listed.
Siltier owns the property where Dean’s Blazer was parked. Another city resident, Mike Crocker, leases the land for cattle ranching. Crocker told authorities he saw Dean there, and spoke w ith him, on the night of Dec. 20. When he came back the next morning, he found the body.
A hose was hooked to the Blazer’s exhaust pipe, leading to the interior of the vehicle The autopsy showed some carbon monoxide in the attorney’s body, but not in lethal concentrations.
When the official business was over. Dean’s remains were cremated. A memorial service was held Dec. 23 in the Porter luring Funeral Home chapel.
Lawrence W Ludka, son of Mr. and Mrs. Chester Ludka of Bulverde.
See SUICIDE, Page 14Ring in the new
Police set for busy New Year's Eve
From staff and wire reports
New Year's Eve revelers who drink and drive will risk a visit to jail after their night on the town, thanks to some beefed-up local law enforcement of drunk driving statutes.
Department of Public Safety statistics estimate 43 persons will die on Texas highways over the New Year’s Eve holiday period DPS stats also predicted 52 traffic-related deaths over Christmas, but only 44 persons died on state highways, according to the San Antonio DPS Office.
New Braunfels DPS Trooper Jim Shea said Thursday all available patrol units will be scoping out the roads over the New Year’s Eve holiday period, which goes from 6 pm. Thursday to midnight Jan. 2.
“Driving while intoxicated will be the main hazard we ll be looking for. Yes, we will be spending most of our time getting drunk drivers off the road,” Shea added.
New Braunfels Police Patrol Division J. John McEachern echoed
Shea’s statement. “Our normal shift overlap will give us a double whammy of patrols out on the road, and we are, of course, aware of the above-average alcohol consumption during this period.
Getting drunk drivers off the road will be our primary emphasis,” McEachern said. “We know what’s killing people on the highways. And so does the public.”
That same public has seemed to lose patience with individuals who drink and drive and endanger the lives of others. Several states have enacted tougher drunken driving laws. In Tennessee, a new state law requires at least 48 hours in jail for convictions, and in New Jersey, the drinking age rises from 19 to 21 when the clock strikes midnight.
Three new provisions of California law on drunken drivers take effect Jan. I, tightening rules on blood alcohol tests and license suspension hearings. The California Highway Patrol expects some 1,500 drunken driving arrests statewide over the
See NEW YEAR, Page 14
The cause of a house fire at 295 West End Street Wed nesday afternoon is still under in vestigation by New Braunfels Fire Department officials
When firefighting units arrived at the house at 5.17 p.m., the back portion was fully engulfed with flames, a NB Fire Department spokesman said Thursday. The flames were extinguished quickly, but the back room of the house was entirely gutted The rest of the house, unoccupied at the time of the fire, sustained smoke and heat damage.
The spokesman said three units responded to the fire, and put in over 34 hours in putting out the flames and in clean up work afterwards.
Above, Fire Chief Jack Wilson surveys the damage. Right, a firefighter sifts through a pile of the family's belongings.
Stat! photos bv Cmdv Rtvhattiso
Looking back at '82it was a rough year for the county appraisal district
It’s been a rough year for the Comal County Appraisal District. Chief Appraiser Glenn Brucks figures things can only get better in 1983.
“I would think it would be,” he said cautiously. “I can’t unagine that it would get worse than it was this year.”
Brucks and his staff spent 1982 doing something that had never been done before. They took three major tax rolls (plus a handful of minor ones) and consolidated them into one central roll, putting one “fair market value” on each of more than 60,000 parcels of property. They created a master file for the various types of exemptions allowed under the law, and put it all on computer records.
The district’s board of directors set up a six-member Appraisal Review Board to hear complaints. The board heard more than 200, made value adjustments on ap
proximately half of the properties concerned and sent the roll back to Brucks for certification and distribution to Comal County’s tax-levying governments.
Naturally, a task of that magnitude couldn’t come off without a few hitches.
General Portland Inc., one of Comal County’s largest industries, was not happy with the review board’s judgment on its assessed value and filed suit against the appraisal district. Early in 1982, GPI settled out of court on unfair taxation suits filed against Comal County and the Comal Independent School District in 1981. Its tax-roll value, assessed by professional appraisal service T Y. Pickett & Co., went up 20 percent for 1982.
The appraisal district is also facing a suit from the Guadalupe Valley Electric Cooperative. Both suits are still unsettled at this time.
Texas Industries, which also made trouble over its taxes last year, also complained to the review board. In the end, it filed suit on Comal County, but not on the appraisal district.
Production of the tax roll was delayed again and again by a host of difficulties: deed discrepancies, lack of adequate maps, problems with computer entry and sheer volume of records.
Brucks had hoped to have preliminary figures available to the various governments by June I or before. When he finally released them at the end of August, officials of Comal County and the Comal Independent School District were chomping at the bit. With all property values being adjusted (some radically), the governments had very little idea what their actual 1982 tax base would be. They needed the figures to plan their budgets.Elected county officials to be sworn in Saturday
By JACQUELINE SMITH Staff writer
With the beginning of a new year, another chapter in Comal County’s governmental history will be w ritten Saturday at the Courthouse.
The official changing of the guard in various county offices will take place when 207th District Judge Robert T. Pfeuffer swears in the newly-elected county officials.
The ceremony, to which the public is invited, will begin promptly at ll a.m. in the District Courtroom, second floor of the Courthouse. Following the swearing-in ceremony, which Pfeuffer said will be "short and sweet." a reception will be held in the rotunda outside the courtroom.
In previous years. County Clerk Irene Nuhn has done the swearing-in of new officials, often done at the stroke of midnight New Year's Eve.
This year, however, Pfueffer agreed to do the honors for Nuhn, who is retiring this year after serving as county clerk since 1964
Pfeuffer opted for the Saturday morning ceremony as opposed to the midnight swearing-in because he said he felt “it i midnight i was inappropriate for family, friends (of elected officials) and the press.”
County Judge elect Fred Clark requested that Pfeuffer perform tile swearing-in ritual, Pfeuffer noted
All of those county officials elected in the November election are expected to be on hand for Saturday’s ceremony, Pfeuffer said iii a telephone interview Thursday.
Various out-gomg elected officials, such as County Judge Max Wommack, who is stepping down this year after serving as county judge for 12 years and Nuhn, are also expected to be on hand, Pfeuffer said.
Included among those officials which will bo sworn in Saturday for their first term of office are County Clerk elect Rosie Bosenbury; County Court-at-liiw Judge elect Ron Zipp; and Precinct 4 County Commissioner elect Rill George
George will be replacing incumbent Commissioner O R Heitkamp, who lost in his attempt to seek re-election in the November election. Bosenbury, a Republican, beat her Democratic opponent Betty Moorhead in the fall election. Zipp ran unopposed.
Clark, a Republican, defeated his democratic opponent Chester Pehl in the November election.
Although not certain w ho would be making speeches at the swearing-in ceremony. Pfeuffer thought Clark would probably “say a few words.” Those outgoing county officials present S^.urday will also be recognized.Inside
No one could set a tax rate until the roll was certified, which couldn’t be* done until the review board had held hearings on the preliminary values releasd in August. And the law requires a certain waiting period, to give property owners a fair chance to look at their values and decide whether to complain.
The final roll wasn’t released until the first week ui November. Individuals tax statements for Comal County and the City of Garden Ridge went out just before Christmas. CLS!) got its last ones in the mail just today. The county's customary discount for early payment in October, November and December became a moot point. In the end, it’s the property owner that got squeezed. By state law, taxes still must bt* paid by Jan. 31, or be subject to penalties
See APPRAISAL, Page 14
Comal County forecast calls for cloudy and cold today, tonight and Friday. Winds will bt* from the northeast near IO mph today, decreasing to 5-10 mph tonight. Probability of rain or drizzle is 30 percent today, 50 percent tonight, and 70 percent Friday. Sunset will be at 5:42 p.m., and sunrise Friday will be at 7:25 a .m.HP Tops Providence
The New Braunfels Unicorn girls basketball team came home with a 50-47 victory over Providence Wednesday night. Teresa T’ Thomas is on a roll with another high-point game. She tiad 22. Sea Page 6
CLASSIFIED. .....................IO 12
SCRAPBOOK ...................... 5
WEATHER .......................... 2