New Braunfels Herald Zeitung (Newspaper) - January 21, 1983, New Braunfels, Texas
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New Braunfels, Texas
Vol. 92- No. 15
FRIDAY January 21,1983 25 cents
(USPS 377-880)Saks family files suit against county
By JACQUELINE SMITH Staff writer
Slightly more than a year after they threatened to do so, the David Saks family has filed a $23.6 million lawsuit against Comal County, the U.S. Government and Canyon Lake developer Tom Sheridan.
Four members of Saks’ family drowned on July 5, 1981 when their car plunged off the Village West boat ramp into Canyon I,ake.
Saks’, his daughter, two of his sons, and his former wife’s parents are suing the county for what they claim was the wrongful death of Saks’ mother, Ethel Saks, OO; his wife Gloria Saks, 38; and daughters Treci, ll, and Robin, IO.
Saks, president of Handy Dan in San Antonio, and his son Kenneth, 18, the other
passengers in the car during the July 5 accident, escaped injury from the sinking 1980 dark blue Jaguar.
Attorneys from Oppenheimer, Rosenburg, Kelleher and Wheatley, Inc. — the San Antonio law firm obtained by Saks — have claimed that the Saks’ car went into the water "due to acts, ommissions, and-or intentional conduct of the county in either the construction, operation or maintenance of the area, alone or with others.”
These alleged negligent acts “created or permitted other circumstances to exist that afffected visibility, safety and created or permitted other dangerous conditions to exist,” according to a letter presented to Commissioners Court in January, 1982 — when Saks first informed the county that they intended to file suit.
The county, however, contends that it was not negligent in the case, County Judge Fred Clark said Friday. "We take the position that the county didn’t do anything wrong, based on the facts we know,” he noted.
Village West boat ramp (at Turkey Cove) is licensed to Comal County by the U.S. Corps of Engineers, as well as seven others.
A small non-reflective sign indicating a boat ramp, belonging to the Turkey Cove Motel, was about IOO to 150 feet from the lake’s edge at the time of the Saks accident. The only lighting in the area was a mercury vapor light on a pole about IOO feet from the water.
The Saks family was returning from visiting friends around 10:45 p.m.. July 5, 1981 when Saks turned into the Turkey Cove Motel drive, instead of following Skyline Drive. The car sank about 50 feet from the shoreline in about
12 feet of water.
The U.S. Government is listed as a party in the suit, on behalf of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, which leased the Turkey Cove boat ramp to the county.
Philip Parsley, reservoir manager of the Canyon Lake Corp office, said Friday that the Saks family first filed a claim against the Army Claim Service, which turned down the claim sometime in November, 1982.
The Saks family could not file suit against the government until that claim against the Army Claim Service was turned down. Parsley said. The U.S. Attorney General’s office will be handling the Corps defense in the case since it a federal agency.
Sheridan, the developer for Village West and his two corporations — Sheridan Homes Inc. and Sheridan Properties Inc., are also listed
as parties in the suit, County Judge Fred Clark said Friday. Sheridan was unavailable for comment by presstime.
Saks’ family is seeking $23,650,000 in damages from the three parties — the county, Sheridan and the U.S. Government, Clark said.
In addition, however, Saks’ family is also seeking "three times the $23 million for gross neglect in exemplary damages,” from the parties involved, Clark noted.
The county, however, "has limited liability of $100,000 per person or $300,000 per incident.” Clark said. This is according to the "Texas Port Act,” said Murray Ferguson, owner of Ferguson Insurance Agency, the county’s local agent. This act “limits
See LAWSUIT, Page 16
Inflation drops to lowest level in 10 years
WASHINGTON (AP) - Consumer prices, restrained at the end by a big December decline, rose just 3.9 percent in 1982, the .smallest gain in a decade, the government said today.
Besides December’s 0.3 percent drop, inflation for the year was also held down by record falls in gasoline prices and mortgage interest rates. Last month’s decline, only the second recorded since 1965, equalled March’s drop.
The full year’s advance in the Consumer Price Index was less than half the 8.9 percent of 1981, the l.abor Department noted, despite a record increase in natural gas prices.
White House spokesman I .airy Speakes said the report was "good news. It shows we have gone a long way toward w inning the battle against inflation.”
The department said that a 12.5 percent drop in mortgage interest rates — the lowest since records were first kept in 1952 — and a further easing rn energy prices were responsible for about three-fourths of the moderation in the yearly inflation measure.
In December alone, housing costs overall tumbled 0.8 percent, driven by a sharp 4.6 percent drop in home financing costs. Home prices themselves rose a tiny 0.2 percent.
Food prices also fell, off 0.1 percent.
Gasoline prices declined 0.9 percent. At year’s end, such prices were 7.6 percent below their March 1981 peak.
Medical care costs, as they had all year, rose. Such expenses were up 0.7 percent last month; for the year, they shot up ll percent.
Of all the components in the index, only medical care costs grew at a
higher rate last year than in 1981.
Overall, economists attributed the inroads made last year in controlling inflation mostly to the serious recession, good crop harvests and the worldwide oil surplus.
Indeed, the I .a bor Department said gasoline prices for the year fell 6.6 percent, the most since the Depression year of 1935, when records were first kept.
Gasoline prices had risen 9.4 percent in 1981, 18.9 percent the year befor that, and 52.2 percent in 1979. when Middle East oil producers raised their prices and gas lines appeared around the country.
Food prices, reflecing in part the bountiful harvests, rose only 3.2 percent last year, down from the 4.3 percent increase of a year earlier.
Housing costs for the year rose 3.6 percent, well under the sharp 10.2 percent increase of 1981. Home financing costs tumbled 6 percent; they had soared 20 percent the year before. But home prices themselves rose at a sharper rate last year, jumping 7.5 percent after a 1.2 percent gain in 1981.
The full-year consumer price increase was the smallest since the 3.4 percent of 1971 and 1972, when wage and price controls were in effect.
Inflation was 12.4 percent in 1980 and 13.3 percent in 1979.
Today’s announcement was the second time in a week that the department had reported a sharp full-year easing in a major inflation measure.
I .ast Friday, the department said its Producer Price Index for finished goods — the wholesale price index -
See ECONOMY, Page 16
Winter means throwing an extra blanket ^ two on the bed. However, if you're a Land*.} Park duck, you carry your electric blanket
Stall photo by John Sen tor
with you These two ducks demonstrate the technique, making them look like snowballs with eyes and webbed membersRunning out of moneyCity Council may be key to Rec Center's future
By DYANNE FRY Staff writer
The I .anda Recreation Center opened its doors in December 1981, launched by donations of money and labor from different sectors of the community.
Today, its sponsors are facing a bleak fact: available funds won’t permit them to keep those doors open much longer.
Members of the luanda Recreation Association will appear before the City Council Monday night with a plan for saving the center. They’re going to propose that the City of New Braunfels take over its future operation.
Association president Michael Doherty, contacted this week by the Herald Ztntuny, says it’s just an idea at this point. It’s the best one his board has come up with, but it will be up to the council to make a decision.
"What we’ve been trying to do is feel out the Cit) Council members,” Doherty said. He's talked to four. Some, he said, seemed to like the idea, and some didn’t.
"Right now. I feel like they’re at least listening to w hat we have to say. Their main objection, the ones that didn’t like it, is the money,” he said.
In November, when the council was dividing up next year’s revenue sharing funds, rec center director Robert Bouse told the council that very few recreation programs of this sort really support themselves. Most are subsidized, either by city governments or by some charity, such as United Way.
As Dr Ed Sciantarelli, another board member, put it. luanda Recreation Center is "not in a position of positive cash flow .”
The effort got off the ground in early 1981 with a $25,000 donation from the Wurstfest Association and a $15,000 revenue-sharing allocation from the city. Various groups have donated money and equipment along the way, but the center’s only regular income is from annual membership fees, the 50-cent daily use fee for non-members and a few video games.
This income has been boosted by periodic rummage sales, chili suppers and other cooperative fund-raisers.
Starting in the summer of 1981, board members
See REC CENTER. Page 16InsideToday's Weather
Comal County forecast calls for cloudy and cold through Saturday. Winds will be from the northeast at 5-10 mph today, and light tonight. Chance of light rain or drizzle is 50 percent today, and 30 percent tonight Sunset will be at 5:59 p.m., and sunrise Saturday will be at 7:25 a.rn. The extended forecast is partly cloudy Sunday and Monday, mostly cloudy Tuesday, with an expected warming trend.Cowboys and Indians
Believe or not, some Dallas L’ow boys say they like to pla\ the Washington Redskins in front of the hostile crowd at REK Stadium in D C. The hatred flowing from the Redskin fans gets their adrenaline pumping, they say. The game is Saturday; the winner will represent the National Football Conference in the Super Bowl. Sports, Page 6Canyon Takes NB
Stephanie Burch hit a jumper with IO seconds remaining in the game to give the Canyon Cougarettes a 41-40 district basketball victory over the New Braunfels Unicorns The win puts CHS at 2-0 against NB this year.
See Page 6Chamber Banquet
Everything is set for New Braunfels' first session of Congress at tonight’s annual Chamber of Commerce banquet, which starts at 7 p m The event is sold out, but the Chamber is still taking reservations for cancellations. The theme will be a mock version of a joint session of the the U S House and Senate During this session, the Chamber Congress will consider the “State of the Chamber,” hear various proposals for 1983 and recommendations for individuals for medals and other awards.
RELIGIOUS FOCUS . . .
White wins battle in Senate
Governor Mark White
Governor to review Clements'appointments
AUSTIN (AP) — In an historic legislative session, Texas senators have voted to allow Democratic Gov. Mark White to review 59 appointments made by lame-duck Republican Bill Clements, the man White defeated in the Nov. 2 general election.
The session included senators — on principle, they said — voting against friends and political supporters.
Forty-three Clements nominees survived Senate votes Thursday by close margins, but still face possible public hearings before they can be confirmed.
“These are painful votes for a lot of us,” said Sen Kent Caperton, D-Bryan.
Sen. Tati Santiesteban, D-El Paso, described his votes to return nominees to White as “some of the most difficult” in his 10-year Senate career.
Democrats said they were trying to change a tradition started by Gov. John formally in 1969 when he made hundreds of appointments just before leaving office, a maneuver that took the privilege away from incoming Gov. Preston Smith.
Connally, who later switched to the Republican party, was one of the victims Thursday as the Senate voted 19-12 to return his appointment as a regent at the University of Texas, his alma mater.
Asked if he intended to reappoint Connally, White said, “I would think that would be one of the most remote possibilities.”
Former House Speaker Bill Clayton’s appointment as a Texas A&M regent also was returned to White, 16-15.
Republicans claimed Democrat White’s mass recall effort was pure partisanship.
White, however, went on record in favor of a proposal that would stop lain from making appointments near the end of his administration.
"The governor won major victories today,” Sen. Chet Brooks, D-Pasadena, said after the 4Ja-hour session had ended, “but I think the Senate came out of it well.... No bridges were burned.”
Brooks predicted White would reappoint 80 percent to 90 percent of the nominees returned to him.
“I think it’s been mischaraeterized as a victory for me or a defeat for me or a victory for anyone,” White told reporters. “I think what it’s going to be is a victory for the state of Texas in changing the policy so we don’t have a recurrence of this.”
Twenty-four of the 31 senators filed a bill Thursday that would prevent lame-duck appointments by an outgoing governor.
In urging the Senate to return Clements’ reappointment of John Blocker of Houston as an A&M regent, Caperton noted that Blocker was a “good friend and good regent” and had hosted a fundraiser for Caperton.
Sen. Craig Washington, D-Houston, one of Clayton’s lawyers in the former speaker’s Brilab trial, said Clayton “is a friend and will be a friend when I cast a vote against hun and leave this chamber.”
Other nominees who were returned to the
See WHITE, Page 16