New Braunfels Herald Zeitung (Newspaper) - January 9, 2001, New Braunfels, Texas
Vol. 150 No. 50
12 pages in 2 sections January 9, 2001
Serving Comal County since 1852
50 centsDeputies: Woman allegedly shoots ex, kills self
From Staff Reports
FISCHER — Comal County sheriff’s detectives are investigating an apparent murder-suicide after the bodies of an estranged couple were found miles apart in separate counties Sunday evening.
Deputies were sent to the home of Jerry Brooks, 57, in the 27400 block of North Cranes Mill Road after Hays County offi
cials found his ex-wife, Carol Brooks, dead near Wimberley.
Hays County officials reported Carol Brooks was dead of an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound.
When Comal County deputies arrived at the trailer home residence of Jerry Brooks about 7:15 p.m. Sunday, they found he had been shot “multiple times,” according to a news release issued by Comal
County Sheriff’s Det. Capt. Dennis Koepp Pct. 4 Justice of the Peace Howard Smith pronounced Brooks; dead at 11:30 p.m., Koepp reported.
The Brooks residence is on North Cranes Mill Road just south of the crossing of Farm-to-Market Road 32.
An official at the nearby Fischer post office was unfamiliar with the residence, noting that mail service there was provided
out of New Braunfels.
Other North Cranes Mill Road residents said they had never heard of Brooks or his ex-wife.
Sgt. Allen Bridges, media coordinator for the Hays County Sheriff’s Office, said Monday his agency would release no information about the situation.
“That’s a Comal County case,” Bridges said. Koepp’s news release, faxed at 1:55
a.m. Monday, reported that investigators believed Carol Brooks apparently shot her ex-husband and then drove to the Wimberley area and shot herself. The news release reported no other information would be released at that time and that another news release would follow when more information was available.
Koepp didn’t return repeated calls to his office Monday.
Smoking ban receives initial council approval
In other action Monday, the city council
• gave second approval to an ordinance requiring tertiary containment for all new underground storage tanks; the ordinance requires one more approval to become law;
• gave second approval to an ordinance implementing more strict regulation of current limitations on the amount of trash residents can place by the curb for each collection by charging for trash above the limit. The ordinance must be approved once more before it is law; and
• gave final approval to an ordinance relating to electrical service charges for New Braunfels Utilities customers. Electric bills for residential and small general service customers will not change as a result of the ordinance. However, the ordinance decreases rates for a majority of NBU’s 12 very large power - distribution customers.
By Jo Lee Ferguson
The New Braunfels City Council gave its initial approval to a ban on s coking in public places Monday night.
Council voted 6-1 to approve the prohibition, with Mayor Pro Tem Juan Luis Martinez offering the only negative vote against the ban.
“I know which restaurants I can go in that are smoking and nonsmoking,” Martinez said. “I can choose to go there.”
Restaurants know if it hurts their business to have smoking sections, he said.
“Who am I to tell them how to run their business?” he asked.
The ordinance ntust be approved twice more before it is law.
It appeared early in the meeting that Councilwoman Juliet Watson would join Martinez in his opposition to the ban.
But several local doctors argued on behalf of the ban to council. Watson said their arguments were convincing.
She had said at first that people could choose if they would visit a restaurant that allowed smoking. It is the business owners’ choice if they wanted to allow smoking.
“I don’t like to take people’s rights away,” she said.
But she offered the ban her support after the doctors spoke.
“It’s just a really uncomfortable issue,” Watson said. “I have not heard compelling evidence not to pass the ordinance tonight.” The ordinance bans smoking in public places, which are defined as “any enclosed area that is open to or is used by the general public, or that is a place of employment.”
That includes restaurants, stores, off ices, public restrooms and other places.
However, the ordinance excludes private residences, bars, tobacco shops, hotel and motel rooms that are rented to guests, private clubs and outdoors.
Mayor Stoney Williams spon
sored the ordinance at the urging of the Comal County Medical Society. City Attorney Floyd Akers drafted the ordinance based on similar laws in other cities.
Some council members questioned why bars are exempted from the ordinance.
Williams said, “Why are bars excluded? A lot of people smoke in bars. That’s the only reason I can think of.” And Akers added, “None of (the ordinances he looked at) had prohibited smoking in bars.”
Lining up to pay more
Postage stamp hike keeps postal workers busy Monday
A local resident buys 1 -cent stamps Monday from a stamp machine at the New Braunfels Post Office.
By Maria Ines Marin
Special to the Herald-Zeitung
New Braunfels Post Office had to call in reinforcements to handle the crowds Monday.
Postage for mailing a first-class letter through the U.S. Postal Service increased to 34 cents Sunday, and the New Braunfels Post Office felt the impact on Monday.
“We saw 25 to 35 percent more customers than on an average Monday,” said Mike Wilson, officer-in-charge postmaster for the New Braunfels Post Office. “We’ve been very, very busy. Our main concentration was at the retail window area.”
To make sure windows were adequately staffed, additional employees, even those who had the day off, were on duty to help with the extra volume.
The rate increases sent customers out to buy the new 34-cent stamp. However, customers should hold off throwing their 33-cent stamps away. More than 4 million 1-cent stamps have been made available at local post offices to use with the old stamps.
Customers in New Braunfels also can get credit for their 33-cent stamps.
“We will accept 33-cent stamps if they’re in good condition,” Wilson said. “They can’t get their money back, but they can get credit for their 33-cent stamp booklet or coil.”
Although first-class postage has increased by one penny to 34 cents for the first ounce, the cost for each additional ounce has dropped to 21 cents. The postcard rate remains at 20 cents.
Postage for international, Express Mail, Priority Mail, parcel post, periodicals and
See STAM P/5 A
Mary Walker, of Canyon Lake, buys a pack of 1 -cent stamps Monday from Post Office employee J.C. Rodriquez at the New Braunfels Post Office. The cost of mailing a first-class letter went up 1 cent Sunday to 34 cents.
Second man pleads guilty in 1999 sexual assault
By Ron Maloney
The second sexual assault trial related to an incident on the Guadalupe River in June 1999 began with a guilty plea Monday.
Ronald Wesley Carver, 28, pleaded guilty Monday to sexually assaulting a 16-year-old LaPorte girl while she was unconscious.
Judge Charles Campbell of the 22nd Judicial District heard the plea.
Now, a Comal County jury will decide % punishment.
Sexual assault of a child is a second-
degree felony in Texas punishable by two to 20 years in state prison and a fine of up to $ 10,000.
In November, Loren Rutter, 27, pleaded guilty to the same charge and was sentenced to nine years in prison — all probated except for six months he now is serving in Comal County Jail.
Carver and Rutter, both then serving in the U.S. Air Force, were among a group of 20 or so men attending a reported bachelor party at Mountain Breeze campground the weekend of June 20, 1999.
See TRIAL/5 A
Key Code 76
Back to school
Goodwin Primary students enjoy snacks and playtime after school Monday. Monday was the first day back to school from Christmas vacation for students in Comal Independent School District.