New Braunfels Herald Zeitung (Newspaper) - January 23, 1987, New Braunfels, Texas
Schertz man arrested as counterfeiter
By JOHN KASTNER Correspondent
The biggest counterfeit scheme ever to hit the small Guadalupe County town of Schertz, has led to the arrest of a 26-year-old Schertz resident here Thursday.
Arrested at his home and charged with counterfeiting and conspiracy to counterfeit, was Michall C. Douglas, 26, of 517 Mitchell Street, Schertz.
Douglas, the fourth suspect to be arrested in the last two weeks, is believed to be the kingpin in a scheme that netted a $4,000 two-sided counterfeit bill copier used to get coins from money changing machines.
According to U.S. Treasury special agent Ed Nowland, the scheme is the first in the history of Schertz and apparently had been in the planning stages for quite some time.
Neighbors and friends of the suspect said he has had money problems and reportedly is unemployed.
Douglas remains in the Bexar County Jail after U.S. Magistrate Dan Naranjo denied bond. The defendant faces a detention hearing later this month.
Arrested and charged earlier this month were Gerald Fischer, 35; his wife, Cassie Alexander, 24; and Jimmy Stover 24, all of New Braunfels.
Comal County Jail not overcrowded
Overcrowding in the state prison system has not posed any problems for Comal County jail officials, although it has reportedly forced officials in Bexar County to consider the release of prisoners by reducing bonds.
On Jan. 16, the Texas prison system reached 95 percent capacity, forcing it to refuse to take prisoners until enough inmates were released to keep the capacity just under the
maximum amount. Prison doors reopened Tuesday.
Comal County jail administrator Walt Sumner said that one prisoner was transferred from Comal County to Texas Department of Corrections last week and was accepted.
He noted that there may be as many as two prisoners to be transferred to the facility next week. “We don’t know if they will be accepted or not,” he said.
Prisoners are taken to TDC quarters in Austin on their way to one of the state’s prisons. Should the system refuse to accept a prisoner because of population problems, the county would then retain the prisoners until transfer is possible.
Prisoner population at the county’s jail is certainly not a problem. Sumner said the facility can accomodate 148 prisoners and currently is holding 85.
Panel seeking exemplary damages, legal fees limit
AUSTIN I AP> — A special legislative study committee wants to put a cap on court judgments and attorneys’ fees as a means of easing the liability insurance crisis, which the committee says was caused in part by the Texas Supreme Court.
"We are convinced beyond a shadow of a doubt that the crisis is real,” Sen. Grant Jones, D-Temple. and Hep. Mike Toomey, R-Houston. co-chairmen of the Joint Committee on Liability Insurance and Tort I .aw, said in a joint statement.
“It is causing tremendous harm to business, health care, governmental and charitable activities in Texas,” they told a news conference.
The committee made a 245-page report to the legislature Thursday after a yearlong study. The report was signed by eight of the IO committee members. Sen. Kent Caperton, D-Bryan, said a minority report would be made later.
Jones and Toomey said they found no single cause for the crisis, but problems uncovered rn the study must be attacked on three fronts — tort law reform, insurance law
reform and stronger medical discipline.
“The study produced conclusive evidence that fundamental changes in tort law over the past several years, largely through decisions by the Texas Supreme Court, have eroded the ability of insurers to accurately predict the frequency and magnitude of their losses.“ the statement said
Toomey told reporters he felt the time had come "to find out which body makes law rn Texas. People must decide whether its the legislature or five men on the Supreme Court who make the laws."
The majority report said damage awards in personal injury suits should be limited to $250,000 for noneconomic losses such as pain, suffering and mental anguish.
It recommended no limit on measurable losses in personal injury lawsuits, including medical bills and lost wages.
The report urged that state law be changed to limit punitive damages to $100,000, or three times the actual economic damage, whichever is
greater. The person filing the suit would get 25 percent of punitive damages, his attorney 25 percent and the state 50 percent.
A plaintiff’s attorney would be able to charge a fee limited to 40 percent of the first $100,000, 33.9 percent of the second $200,000, 25 percent of the next $200,000 and IO percent of any amount over $500,000.
The majority report made 30 recommendations for changes in state tort laws — laws which govern civil suits brought by an injured person against an alleged wrongdoer.
It also recommended 22 changes in insurance laws and four changes to strengthen authority of the Texas Bi lard of Medical Examiners.
Caperton said earlier a minority report would oppose any tort law changes.
He said the minority report w ill sa> the investigation found little support for the argument that liability insurance rates were driven up by increased numbers of lawsuits anil an increase in judgments awarded to plaintiffs
Chicken Fest draws ire
'Immoral, illegal' say some; profitable say others
IA GRANGE, Texas I AP) — The notorious Chicken Ranch, closing of which in the early 1970s was immortalized on stage and film in “The Best little Whorehouse in Texas,” is once again ruffling feathers in this small community.
The flurry this time is sparked by a plan to commemorate the famous bordello by selling 45 million square-inch plots of ground around the original site, by building a museum to tell its history and staging an annual “Chicken Fest” on Memorial Day.
Mayor Charlie Jungmichel called the plan “a slap in the face to the people in our county.”
The city council, led by Jungmichel, and the La Grange Ministerial Association are opposing what they consider an inappropriate proposal to glorify a bordello.
The two groups are urging residents in a published statement to join in “openly and strongly opposing this blight on our homes, our families and the generation to come.”
Dr. Thomas Miller, president of tile Chamber of Commerce, said he can understand why some think the Chicken Ranch gives a bad name to a community. but his group is endorsing the plan.
Some 65 members voted in favor of participating in the festival in a recent poll and 41 were opposed.
Fayette County Commissioner Dan Beck said the commissioners have not taken a stand on the issue and he has no problem with the project as long as it is legal and conducted with dignity.
As was the case when KTRK-TV’s Marvin Zmdler
forced the shutdown of the brothel that operated virtually undisturbed for about LIO years near here, many residents seem reluctant to discuss the controversy.
But Todd Hoffman, president of The Original Chicken Ranch Inc. and seller of the square-inch plots of land, defends his ideas, chiding his opponents for not being as vocal when the bordello was operating.
He said the county commissioners court strongly supported him when he first came up with his plans for the site of the Chicken Ranch, so named because chickens were accepted as payment for services during the Depression.
The “Chicken Fest” is scheduled to have name entertainers and events including a barbt-cue cookoff with a $40,000 purse. Those who bought tile tiny plots of lands will be given free admission.
Hoffman threatened to take his Chicken Fest and its economic benefits elsewhere if the mayor and ministers stay opposed.
“We’re not interested in the money,” Jungmichel said. “I think our morals are a little better than that."
He said many of the opponents to Hoffman’s plan also were against the bordello when it was operating.
Monsignor Harry Mazurkiewicz, head of the ministers’ group, said many in the area have expressed support for opposing “any attempt to glorify, memorialize or otherwise celebrate’’ the existence of “an immoral and illegal house of prostitution.”
Immediate Notice of IMPORTANT ORIENTAL
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On request of the City Gov’t of Beijing, China, we are commissioned to liquidate the total inventory of China Trade Corp., Houston, TxJUl merchandise of top quality taken directly from the Houston warehouse site.
Location: Holiday Inn - New Braunfels lost IH 35 (Seguin Exit) Time: Sat. Jan. 24th 1:30 p.m. Sharp Preview one hour prior to the Auction.
Included In this special auction sale are: Hundradsof highly valuable * unique WORKS OP ART PROM CHINA. AU Unde of ORIENTAL FURNISHINGS, rosewood, lacquer a stone-inlaid type, aU kinds of Porcelain, old A new, palace vase, Sab bowl A many oneof-ehind items. Oriental rues of aU Bads, JEWELRY of att binds, gemstones a 14 K. gold, semi-precious
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New Braunfels High School horremaking cottage caves in beneath a bulldozer's blade as school ad-
DCRYL CLAR K/t toff
ministration makes way for parking spaces.
History, termites biting the dust
The New Braunfels ISD is paving an historic site to put up a parking lot.
Work crews began tearing down the old New Braunfels High School homemaking cottage, built in 1925, to make way for a new parking lot to serve school district employees working in the Education Center and the tax office.
“With the city ordinance saying we have to have so many parking spaces per office space, we need that space
for parking,” said Ixinnie Curtis, NBISD’s finance superintendent. “To meet city ordinances, you have to provide so many parking spaces. There is no other place to put them." School district employees have been parking along the street and behind the Education Center.
The old building at 431 West Mill St. served as the administration offices for the school district until early December when employees moved across the street and into the newly
renovated Education Center.
Curtis said administrators discussed the possibility of moving the old building but decided that would not be cost effective. “Termites, over the years, have pretty well gutted the shell," he said.
Curtis added that crews will begin putting in a parking lot as soon as possible. He said the lot will be torn up for some time but, depending on weather, work should be completed within a few weeks.
Kidnapper, Texas Ranger die in shootout; child okay
HORSESHOE BAY. T exas 1 AP •
A Texas Ranger was shot t<» death and an unidentified man died in a shootout as officers attempted to arrest a man suspected in two separate kidnappings, authorities said toda\
During the shootout Thursday night, a 2-year-old kidnapped child was found safe and unharmed, and the binh of an abducted maid was later discovered in a boat house* nearby in this lakeside resort community, said David Wells, a Texas Department of Public Safety spokesman.
Ranger Stan Guffey. 40. of Brach died in a Burnet hospital late Thursday night. Wells said early this morning. Guffey was the first Ranger to be killed rn the line *1 duty since 1978. Wells said He said the kidnapping suspect died at the scene of the shooting on I Hike Lyndon B. Johnson west »t Marble Falls.
Officers discovered the body of Denise Johnson. 22. a live-m maid al the home of Mr. and Mrs. Bill Whitehead of Horseshoe Bay. identnfed as parents of the child who had also been abducted The woman had been missing for about a week. Wells said,.
The 2-vear-old. Kara Lee
Whitehead, had been kidnapped
earlier Thursday from a home here. he said.
There had been telephone calls demanding ransom in kidnapping ut the child. Wells said. Further details were not immediately available concerning the ransom demands W ells said Guffey and Ranger John \ycock. 39. of Belton, were involved with other officers in a stakeout near a home at the time of the shootout Wells said the Rangers were hiding i*. the bac k seat of an automobile in which the suspect was* about to attempt to use as a getaway car The man placed the child in tin* tr>*nt seat of the car and then ap-parenth saw the Rangers and fired at Guffev. striking him in the head. W ells said The spokesman said Ay cook grabbl'd the child from the front seat and placed her behind hun to shield tin* child from the gunfire
\ycock then returned the fire, striking the man. Wells said. He said officers were not abietic immediately determine how many shots were fired
Wells said that although there were ether officers in the area, they were not involved in the shootout.
Guffey was rushed to Sheppard Hospital at Burnet, where he was
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pronounced dead. Wells said.
Officers then begari searching the area around the shootout. It was then drat they located the body of the maid in a boat bouse at the rear of a home near the shootout scene. They estimated she had been dead for about twit days.
Wells said the investigation began about a week ago when the maid was kidnapped.
Other agencies involved in the investigation included the FBI. DPS Criminal Intelligence officers, the Llano County Sheriffs office and the Marble Falls Police Department.
Guffey had been with DPS since October, 1%8 and became a Ranger iii 1979 after serving with the Texas Highway Patrol.
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