New Braunfels Herald Zeitung (Newspaper) - May 12, 1999, New Braunfels, Texas
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Vol. 148, No. 124 18 pages in 2 sections May 12, 1999
Serving Comal County since 1852
50 centsFire Investigation nears end
Walker wins state tennis title
Testimony begins in indecency hearing
Bv Heather Toro
A Comal County jury heard opening arguments and witness testimony Tuesday in a case District Attorney Dib Waldrip called “a deep, dark world of sexual perversion.”
Law enforcement and Child Protective Service officials testified in the trial of Richard Warren Layman. (he spouse of a Comal County woman convicted of indecent exposure in October 1998.
Layman. 47, is accused of indecency with a child by contact and by exposure for his alleged involvement in an incident involving his wife and her 11-year-old son in early 1998.
Waldrip told the IO-woman, two-man jury Layman 'Violated die innocent purity of mind of a child” by encouraging his wife’s criminal behavior with her son through a series of correspondence while serving time at the Garza Unit of the Texas Department of Criminal Justice in Beeville.
Layman was arrested in September 1997 for a parole violation but is currently in custody at the Comal County Jail.
His wife, who pleaded guilty to indecency with a child by exposure, is serving five years at die state criminal justice center in Gatesville. She also is currently in the Comal County Jail.
Jury selection began Monday. State District Judge Jack Robison is presiding.
Indecency w ith a child by contact is a second-degree felony, and indecency with a child by exposure is a third-degree felony.
If he is convicted of the second-degree charge. Layman could face a first-degree felony based on prosecutor’s evidence of previous criminal activity.
Layman could face 5 to 99 years or life in prison on the first-degree felony charge and a fine not to exceed $10,000.
From STAFF REPORTS
AUSTIN — New Braunfels sophomore Lauren Walker won the University Interscholastic League Class 5A girls’ singles tennis championship Tuesday at the Fenick-Allison Tennis Center.
Walker defeated her former doubles teammate, Duncanville^ Saber Pierce, 6-4,1-6,6-1.
“I was really nervous, especially in the first set,” Walker said. “I knew I had to relax and
In Monday’s quarterfinals, Walker beat San Antonio Clark’s Danielle Lee 6-2,6-3 in a match delayed by storms. In the semifinals, she defeated Odessa Permian’s Beverly Dawson 6-2,6-3.
Walker is the fourth girls’ singles champion in the 17-year tenure of New Braunfels coach David Mueller. Rebekah Forney was the most recent, having won state in 19%. See page 8A for more state tennis coverage.
By Chris Crews Staff Writer
Officials are close to completing their investigation into the apartment fire that claimed the lives of two New Braunfels residents this past Friday.
The preliminary autopsy report indicated Renee Kathleen Crocker, 25, and her 2-year-old son, Timothy James “T. J.” Samples II, died from smoke inhalation in the bedroom of their home at Laurel Heights Apartments, 483 Laurel Lane.
Jack Collier, chief of New Braunfels Fire and Rescue, said the fire likely burned undetected in the attic before the roof collapsed and filled the living area of apartment 310 with sheet rock, insulation and other debris.
Collier said the pair allegedly retreated into the bedroom, as the path to the door was blocked and they had no way of escape from the second floor. It probably was a matter of minutes before die bedroom roof caved in on top of the victims.
Collier said the fire burning freely
in the attic gave no signs for smoke detectors or human observation to indicate impending danger.
Though a final verdict had not been rendered, Collier said there was a ‘‘strong indication” the fire was caused by an electrical short between the walls of apartments 308 and 310.
Collier said four apartments were destroyed and a fifth was damaged. He said the fire moved quickly through the common attic until it was slowed by a fire wall between the fourth and fifth apartments.
By Heather Toro
play my game and just stay focused.”
Walker, who transferred to NBHS this year, won the District 14-5A WALKER championship and was runner-up at the Region II-5A tournament.CISD set for safety meetingMcKenna Memorial Hospital Expansion
Comal Independent School District has scheduled an informational meeting with parents, teachers, and law enforcement officials to discuss past and present methods to keep schools safe and consider changes to the district’s crisis management plans.
Representatives of local law enforcement agencies and CISD superintendent Jerry Major are scheduled to give presentations to the public from 6:30 to 8 p.m. Thursday at the Guadalupe Valley Telephone Co-op, IOO Farm-to-Market Road 3159.
New Braunfels Independent School District is making a similar effort with its Safe Schools Task Force.
The task force, comprised of parents, teachers, students, business leaders, and law officials, met with district patrons May 4 to strategize ways to prevent school violence before it begins.
In recent weeks, several local schools have beefed up security to address growing concerns voiced by parents and students that if it could happen in Littleton, Colo., it could happen in New Braunfels.
Off-duty police officers have been placed at both Canyon middle and high schools for the remainder of the year.
CISD officials said they did not know if the officers — provided at the campuses and paid for by the district — would be requested next year.
School officials also have made efforts to open communication with parents after a rash of phony bomb threats in past weeks and a shooting incident involving two Canyon Middle School students on April 20. That incident occurred just hours before two Colorado teens opened fire, killing 12 classmates and a teacher.
Reports of pranks and phony threats of violence at local schools have tampered off, but the Linleton shootings have caused a ripple effect of concern and fear.
Current measures at CISD school include specialized training for administrators and counselors to identify students who might be potential discipline problems, dress codes, officers at campuses and monitoring of students and visitors.
ROOM CORNETT AHerakt-Zedung
Rose Mary Fenner, clinical director of women’s health services at McKenna Memorial Hospital, uses the telephone Tuesday inside the surgery room in the woman’s health wing. The room is part of the new addition to the hospital.Public invited to grand opening
By Peri Stone
Patients at McKenna Memorial Hospital can now enjoy more privacy and more luxurious accommodations.
The public will have a chance to see these new features up close on Thursday, when the hospital hosts a grand opening tour of its tower expansion.
The ribbon-cutting ceremony will start the tour at 5:15 p.m. at the hospital, 600 N. Union Ave.
The public will be allowed to tour the first floor of the four-floor tower, including the patient registration area and the meditation room. Pictures will be available on the first floor of any areas the public does not tour.
The $10.5 million construction project began in August 1997 after five years of planning. Hospital officials started moving into the new building on Friday.
Patients already are using the new Intensive
Care Unit on the third floor. Windows are in every room, clinical director Patrice Stark
‘it’s important for the patients’ orientation,” she explained. “They can tell days and nights and stay on a proper sleep cycle.”
The views of New Braunfels’ skyline also help fight boredom, Stark said.
The IO rooms in this unit also feature thick glass doors, which keep out noise while allowing health officials to monitor patients Curtains are available for complete privacy.
One floor down on the women’s health floor, new mothers can enjoy privacy in a suite, decorated in mauves and greens with cherry wood furniture. Emergency equipment is tucked away in cabinets.
“It makes women feel more comfortable because it’s more home-like,” clinical director Rose Mary Feltner said.
Mothers will stay in this room during labor, delivery and recovery. In other words, their
entire stay at the hospital will be in one room. And the baby can stay with her, thanks to a radiant warmer in the room, Feltner said.
Another progressive feature in the tower is a special procedure lab, which will open June 15.
Residents can be diagnosed with heart problems here by a procedure that uses catheters to “visualize coronaries” and detect any blockage, said Dawn Meadow, director of the lab.
What will be on the fourth floor is still undecided, spokeswoman Jennifer Malatek said.
The floor, which is still under construction, could house additional patient rooms as well as rehabilitory services. Renovation in the old building also continues.
About 90 percent of the existing building is being renovated, said hospital administrator Tim Brierty.
Key Code 76SB 1772 gets support from city
By Peri Stone Staff Writer
After more than an hour of debate, New Braunfels City Council voted Monday to support proposed legislation that would allow them to designate a portion of local bed tax revenue for river cleanup.
Council will only support the legislation, however, if it is changed to cap the amount they could spend to 1/2 of I percent of the city’is 7 percent bed tax, or about $88,000.
Senate Bill 1772, which is on its way to the Texas House
See SB 1772/3A
New Braunfels City Council heard debate Monday from both sides of a Texas Senate bi that would provide money to keep Comal County's rivers dean.
Council OKs second reading of proposed golf fee plan; advisory board president remains in post
By Peri Stone
In two separate actions Monday night, New Braunfels City Council added fuel to an already heated relationship with members of the Landa Park Golf Course Advisory Board.
First, the council approved a second reading of a golf course fee structure the board
has opposed Then council ruled Doug Williams still was the board’s president, although he was removed from office on May 3.
In a memorandum to the council, city attorney Floyd Akers said he believed the vote to remove Williams was invalid because it was not on the boards agenda.