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New Braunfels Herald Zeitung Newspaper Archives

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New Braunfels Herald Zeitung (Newspaper) - July 13, 2005, New Braunfels, Texas jrataRF*781 fSzTMT”®1 EL PftSO TX 79903 WEDNESDAY, JULY 13,2005 ?rald-Zeitung CANYON LAKE SUMMER FUN Summertime means tourists flocking to Canyon Lake for swimming, boating and loads of fun. Page 5A SPORTS LITTLE LEAGUE District 31 tournaments wind down as local teams battle for championships. Page 6A Serving New Braunfels and Comal County since 1852. Vol. 154, No. 203 16 pages, 2 sections CLICK 500 '56825 00001 Partly Cloudy High Low 98 75 Details .... 2B DEAR ABBY 48 CLASSIFIEDS 5B COMICS 3B CROSSWORD 3B FORUM 4A OBITUARIES 3A SPORTS 6A TV GRIDS 4BBenavides: I tried to stop hit-man scheme By Ron Maloney Staff Writer Jonathon Benavides testified Tuesday he worked to stop an alleged “murder for hire’’ plot that could send him and co-defendant Saman tha Childs to prison for the rest of their lives. But in a detailed, hours-long cross-examination by District Attorney Dib Waldrip, Benavides’ memory did not seem as clear as earlier when testifying under questioning by his own attorney, Glen Peterson. In nearly five hours of sometimes tedious questioning that gre heated as the afternoon w Waldrip and Benavides parse* and split hairs in exchange: phone calls, conversations; defendant’s relationships with his father and other family members. The witness said dozens of times he couldn’t recall details and asked Waldrip to rephrase questions numerous other times. Waldrip’s cross-examination of Benavides is expected to continue at 9 a.m. today in 207th Judicial District Judge Jack Robisons court. Later today, attorney Anthony Cantrell is expected to begin his See SCHEME. Page 8A NB residents could see higher taxes By Leigh Jones Staff Writer New Braunfelsers had better get ready — city council is considering raising taxes. Squeezed between I 1 one of the lowest tax j rates among cities j similar in size and a I need to increase fire j and police protection j for citizens, council ; members asked City I j Manager Chuck Pinto I to tell them how much j additional revenue j they could rqjse by I increasing taxes to just \ less than the 8 percent j rollback rate. New Braunfels prop- j erty owners currently : pay the city 44 cents per $100 valuation, split between 39 cents for maintenance and operations and 5 cents for debt service. With 2.5 cents, a 7.9 percent tax increase, the city would have $528,352 to disperse between departments clamoring for personnel. While no action was taken at Tuesday’s workshop meeting, all council members expressed interest in some form of tax increase. “We have to realize we are a growing city,’’ said Councilwoman Gale Pospisil. “We had too many years when previous city councils DID YOU KNOW? N The rollback rate is the largest tax increase city council can establish without being subject to a recall election. ■ lf city council raised the tax rate 2.5 cents, the owner of a $100,000 home, who is paying about $440 now, would pay $465, $25 more. See TAXES, Page 3A Sates tax collections in New Braunfels and Comal County inch higher. By Melissa Johnson Staff Writer j IE NIGHT AWAY GRUENE — Some visitors may wonder what draws big name musicians and bigger crowds to this small town, but the locals have no doubt in their minds. MORE MUSIC ■ Columnist Dale Martin explores the musical options available this weekend, Page 1B. DANCING I Gruene has grown into musical masterpiece Home to the oldest dance hall in Texas, the town is known for its ability to deliver authentic honky-tonk in a family-friendly atmosphere. Built in 1878, Gruene Hall has attracted the likes of Willie Nelson, Los Lobos, Nanci Griffith and many other country superstars. An avid fan of country music, Gruene Hall regular Carol Holmes said that learning the history of the hall made her love the breezy, all-ages bar even more. “I’ve grown up with country all my life,” Holmes said. “I found out all my favorite people started at Gruene or stomped their boots here to get their start.” The legendary status of the bands that have played on stage not only attracts fans, but also brings in talented local acts. To make sure its seven-days-a-week summer live music schedule is filled, Gruene peppers its rosters with resident mainstays such as Two Tons of Steel. The band has headlined every summer Tuesday night for the past IO years and is one reason locals flock to the venue. Photos by MANDY REARY Herald-Zeitung Gruene Hall was packed with a standing-room-only crowd during the dance hall's Two Tons Tuesday, which features the popular band Two Tons of Steel. Below, Tracy, left, and Jessica Colley swing dance. Holmes said the band was the first local act she heard when she moved to Texas and it became a fast favorite. “Last summer, we came to see them every Tuesday,” I lolmes said. “They’re hip and fttn and natural entertainers. Some people can just get on stage and without even trying they make you have a great time. Two Ton and Gruene will always be the same, no matter what. They fit each other well.” Its the consistency of good live music and a reliable good time that bartender Ryan Gamey says brings patrons out, no matter who’s on the mic. Gamey said many visitors have heard of the bar and will pay a $10 cover without ever having heard of the band. “Because of our track record, there’s always going to be a crowd,” See GRUENE, Page 2Aamman Owned. Born Here. Brewed Here. r///// '// i/7Ziah/j The only motor brewer Hint's still American Owned.UPDATES V Tracking the news Getting closer LAST WE KNEW: Comal ISD had four candidates for superintendent. LATEST: Trustees narrowed the list to twoTuesday. NEXT: The candidates will interview with trustees again Friday and Sunday.■ ■■ Untimely death LAST WE KNEW: Brent Neil Davis died in San Marcos after tubing the Comal River. LATEST: An autopsy was done. NEXT: Police are waiting for toxicology reports to determine cause of death. Significant pay raises in store for Comal ISD teachers By Melissa Johnson Staff Writer Employees at the Comal Independent School District will be seeing bigger paychecks this year. Teachers, counselors, librarians and nurses with fewer than 18 years of experience will see the most dramatic increase. “We have been closer to the median market with employees with more experience," said Director of Communications Kari Hutchison. “We want to be more competitive with our salaries at the other end of the scale.” Beginning teacher pay has increased by $2,800 for the 2005-06 school year, bringing the starting salary up to $34,800. Employees with 11 yea s of experience will feel the pay raise impact the strongest, with a $4,226 increase, bringing their annual income up to $39,400. First-year teacher Lacy I Ians said she made her decision to teach seventh grade Texas history in CISD before the announced raise. Despite higher wages in neighboring San Antonio, I Ians said she chose CISD because of the district’s positive reputation. After the recent pay hike, Hans said she is getting the best of both worlds. “I’m glad that Comal is now competitive with other districts in San Antonio,” she said. “I had applied at a See RAISES, Page 3ATEACHER PAY RAISES OVER PREVIOUS FIVE YEARS Years on the job 2005-06 pay rate 2005-06 increase 2004-05 Increase 2003-04 increase 2002-03 increase 2001-02 increase 2000-01 increase 1 $34,800 $2,800 none $480 $1,000 $3,625 $1,200 5 $36,800 $2,645 $801 $494 $1,335 $2,425 $1,000 10 $39,400 $4,226 $720 $525 $846 $2,000 $1,000 20 $46,475 $2,171 $645 $645 $1,265 $2,000 $1,000 ;