New Braunfels Herald Zeitung (Newspaper) - July 15, 2005, New Braunfels, Texas
FRIDAY, July 15,2005
HIKED ADC. MOI 1000571 12/50/05 SOUTHWEST HICROF’UBLISHER'S 2627 E YANDELL DR EL. RASO TX 79905
New Braunfels grad Nick Williams contends for title in Valero Texas Junior Championship. Page 6
COMAL COUNTY | HISTORICAL
I County Commissioners I agree to renovate court-! house to 1929 standards.
I Page 5
Serving New Braunfels and Comal County since 1852.
DEAR ABBY 10 CLASSIFIEDS 11 COMICS 9 CROSSWORD 9 FORUM 4
OBITUARIES 3 SPORTS 6 TV GRIDS 10
Vol. 154, No. 205 14 pages, 1 section
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% „ „ a, Hp * v * 1 Cf? ^Jury finds Benavides, Childs guilty
By Leigh Jones
Justice was swift Thursday as jurors took just over an hour to convict Jonathon Benavides and Samantha Childs of criminal conspiracy to solicit capital murder.
The defendants displayed little emotion when the verdict was read in Judge lack Robison’s 207th Judicial District courtroom, but reality
seemed to sink in during the first 45 minutes of the sentencing hearing.
Benavides looked shell-shocked and slightly incredulous, responding slowly to aside comments from his attorney, Glen Peterson.
Childs sat with her shoulders hunched over, crying quietly while her attorney, Tony Cantrell, patted her on the back.
Neither defendant had family support present in the audience.
The first-degree felony conviction is punishable by five to 99 years in state prison and a fine of up to $10,000.
Robison dismissed the jury of seven men and five women for the night just after 5 p.m. Ile told them to expect to begin sentencing deliberations around noon today, after listening to more testimony from defense and prosecution witnesses.
Peterson said he was not surprised
by the speed of the verdict, but speculated jurors could not have gone through the evidence thoroughly in such a short amount of time.
Fiver optimistic, Peterson said he liked Benavides’ chances during the trials sentencing phase.
“I still don’t believe the jurors will hurt either one of them in sentencing," he said. "Since neither of them
See GUILTY, Page 3
Commissioners limit eminent domain in Comal County
THINGS ARE LOOKING UP
By Ron Maloney
■ Commissioner's Court agrees to renovate courthouse to 1929 style, see page 5.
Anyone concerned by the lune Supreme Court decision upholding New London, Conn.’s right to use eminent domain to condemn land for a shopping center can relax it they live here.
It s not going to happen in Comal County.
Commissioners voted 4-1 Thursday to repudiate any new power the ruling might offer Comal County to seize land for economic development or commercial purposes.
T he June 23 decision that extended eminent domain from public to private use in support of economic development sent shockwaves across the country that reverberated in the very fabric of Texas, a state where property rights are still regarded as paramount to all but the most important needs of the public.
The Texas Legislature is working to define or limit its impact here, and Comal County officials decided they wanted to spell out their view for their own constituents so there is no doubt.
“The bottom line from my perspective, and I hope from tliis commissioners’ court’s perspective, is that this resolution demonstrates to the public that this court doesn’t
See DOMAIN, Page 3
Brooke, left, and Matt Pennington won Ernesto's Proposal Contest after recounting their story of love.
Scooter Store celebrates economic turnaround
By Ron Maloney
Comal County’s largest employer threw a party Thursday afternoon for Cherita Odums and about two dozen of her friends.
It was a celebration with all the trimmings — noisemakers, confetti, balloons and a visit from the boss.
Thursday’s party at The Scooter Store wasn’t a birthday party — it was a welcome aboard basil for new outside sales associates.
But it was also an indicator that things are looking up for a business that has had to lay off hundreds, faced a two-year I BI investigation and is going to the courts to fight what it says are unfair and illegal practices by Medicare and Medicaid, which pays for many of the more than 250,000 mobility scooters and power wheelchairs the company has sold during its 14-year history.
T he good news for the company is that more than 11,500 of the wheelchairs have been sold during the second quarter of 2005.
Things are indeed looking up at The Scooter Store. President Mike leister said the company, which is owned by its employees and members of its founding I iarrison family, d(x*s not publicize its bottom line.
But there are a lot of smiling faces at the complex located across Loop 337 from New Braunfels I Ugli School — and the company has just hired 62 new employees.
Business is up 19 percent over the first quarter, and business from private payers — non-Medicare — is
Photos by DAVID INGRAM Herald Zt itung
Scooter Store employees cover Maggie Ramirez with confetti after graduating from Scooter University Thursday afternoon. Below, Cherita Odums celebrates after graduating.
up 50 percent over the first quarter.
The company has met or surpassed its sales goals for three of the past four quarters — and, as a result, paid bonuses to its employee/owners.
What has also quietly been happening is the federal insurance programs have been making good on stalled reimbursements that are the subject of the federal lawsuits.
“For months now, we have been having discussions and negotiations with agencies of the federal government that we havent had in years," Pfister said.
Mister said it s an exciting time at The Scooter Store.
“I want our community to be proud of all the people here in New Braunfels who have made
See SCOOTER, Page 2
Creative proposals start marriages off right
By Melissa Johnson
lavers have long debated which is the best way to pop the question.
A candlelight dinner, horse drawn carriage ride or a ring baked in a fortune cookie are popular engagement ideas. But according to Ernesto’s Platinum Proposal Contest, the best way to propose is to spread roses in a church bell tower and read Bible verses together.
Local couple, Matt and Brooke Pennington, won first place and $500 from Ernesto’s Jewelry factory after Brooke submitted a 500-word story describing their lofty, rose-
filled engagement. Three judges named the Pennington’s story the most romantic and creative out of 35 entries.
Tom and Cynthia Baker won a $300 second-place prize for their story about a proposal in a bottle, and Will Pearce and Glenna Roscoe earned a $200 third-place prize for their mystery-cloaked engagement tale.
“They were all incredible and it was quite a difficult choice because all the entries were very unique," contest coordinator Fritzie Richter said.
The Pennington’s first-prize proposal incorporated the couple’s reli
gious convictions into their engagement. After Brooke left a Bible study she was holding at her apartment, she met up with then boyfriend Matt, who drove her to tile church where he was interning. Matt got down on one knee on the rose-covered Boor of the church’s bell tower and asked Brooke to be his wife.
The newly engaged couple then rang the bell and made their way to the church’s sanctuary. T here. Matt had covered the banister with tea lights and vases of red roses. In the middle of the banister was a Bible
See PROPOSALS, Page 2The Uptown Piano Bar is the place for Birthday Parties and AnniversariesUPDATES
Tracking the news Suspect returning
LAST WE KNEW: Robert Troy McClure, 28, a suspect in a January throat slashing in New Braunfels, was taken into custody July 15 in King Cove Alaska.
LATEST: Detective Scott Renken said McClure was moved to Anchorage to await transport to Texas.
NEXT: McClure is not expected to fight extradition. He will be flown here when paperwork is processed.
Downstairs in the Prince Solms Inn 295 E. San Antonio 830620-7600
Tile community responds after NBISD trustees approve random drug testing.