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New Braunfels Herald Zeitung (Newspaper) - May 28, 2005, New Braunfels, Texas ii ii i ?x, 799w "■■'"''"'■''■ll..... SATURDAY, MAY 28,2005 HALD SPORTS FORUM ALMOST THERE COLUMN The Smithson Valley baseball team advances to the regional finals with a shutout victory Friday. Page 5A Columnist J.T. Woodall says the government needs to be honest about the problems in the Middle East. Page 4A -Zeitung Serving New Braunfels and Comal County since 1852. Vol. 154, No. 164 16 pages, 2 sections CLICK 500 8 '56825 00001"' 1 IPrP-: CP WI Mostly " Cloudy High Low 84 68 Details .... 1B DEAR ABBY 3B CLASSIFIEDS 4B COMICS 2B CROSSWORD 2B FORUM 4A OBITUARIES 3A SPORTS SA TV GRIDS 3BAdmitted killer gets 50 years in prison County could lose $900,000 when federal prison opens By Ron Maloney Staff Writer The pending ;    nifwnl, opening of a 1,020-    IaD YOU bed U.S. Immigra- KNOW? don and Naturalize- I tion Service lockup I Reimbursement for in Pearsall has coun- I housing federal ty officials con- inmates cerned they could I a 2002: $1,085,200 lose income for 2003: $873,150 housing federal i detainees.    j ® 2004: $1,300,000 Comal County I ■ 2005: (Budgeted) receives $50 a day j $750,000 for each federal inmate it houses. Jail Administrator David Ott said that number typically runs between 40 to 50 inmates — there were 54 Thursday — for a daily income of $2,700. At 50 inmates a day, that would be about $900,000 a year — no small thing considering the county budget, including special funds, is some $35 million. The income from the jail goes into the county’s $26 See LOSE Page 3A American heroes Comal County takes time to remember those who died figh ting for the United States. Sentence delayed for man who injured grandchild By Ron Maloney Staff Writer Sentencing was postponed Wednesday for the 53-year-old man who pleaded guilty in April to causing injuries to his toddler grandson that were found at autopsy. District Judge Gary Steel postponed sentencing for Gregory Robbins because a witness slated to be called by defense attorney joseph Garcia 111 was not available. A new hearing date has been set for I p.m. June 21. Robbins was arrested in May 2004 for recklessly causing injuries to his 15-month-old grandson, Brandon Lee Robbins II. He remains in Comal County Jail, where his bail is $200,000. The boy’s parents were also arrested at the conclusion of a months-long investigation into what caused the child’s death. Brandon Lee Robbins was found unresponsive in bed Dec. 2, 2003, and was rushed to McKenna Memorial Hospital, See GRANDPA Page 3A By Ron Maloney Staff Writer District Judge Gary Steel sentenced Santiago Suarez Jr. to 50 years in prison Friday for stabbing a Solms man to death in 2002. The sentence came after Comal County detective Sgt. Tommy Ward and defense attorney Barbara Gayl Ancira asked Steel, 274th Judicial District Judge, to afford Suarez whatever protections he could in prison — which Steel agreed to do. Steel said he had heard a day’s worth of testimony in mitigation of Suarez’s crime and was unswayed by it. “This was a cold-blooded murder of an individual in this county, and I do find you guilty,” Steel said, in assessing the maximum sentence available under a plea agreement reached between Ancira and Assistant District Attorney joe Soane. “I will assist, either in the language of my judgment or in a request to the Texas Department of Criminal Jus tice, to provide for your safety.” Then, Steel allowed the widow of Suarez's victim, Pablo Esquivel, to address the man who killed her husband. She and other family members See SENTENCE Page 2A New Braunfels ISD could use reserve funds to balance budget By Leigh Jones Staff Writer New Braunfels Independent School District patrons are invited to voice their opinions on next year’s budget and proposed tax rate Tuesday. Homeowners should not have much to complain about — administrators are not recommending any change over last year’s rate. Although the proposed maintenance and operations rate will go up two cents, the interest and sinking rate will go down two cents, keeping the overall rate at $1.82 per $100 valuation. Despite being one of Superintendent Ron Reaves’ board-approved goals, the budget is not technically balanced, showing a bottom line deficit of $989,220. Administrators are recommending making up the difference with reserve funds instead of raising taxes. The district’s general fund balance sits at $11.3 million, 30.7 percent of expenditures. The Texas Education Agency recommends districts keep at least 18 percent, equaling $6.6 million for NBISD, in reserve. During the 2005-06 school year, administrators expect to spend $36.9 million, including $800,000 set aside for salary increases. District employees will not know what they will make next year until legislators decide whether a mandated salary increase will be included in this session’s school finance reform package. See BUDGET Page 2A What: New Braunfels Independent School District public hearing and board meeting to discuss budget When: 5:30 p.m.Tuesday Where: Education Center board room, 430 W. Mill St. SAYING GOODBYE Students, teacher spend last day together By Melissa Johnson Staff Writer The last day of school is a time that is bittersweet for students and teachers alike. Both look forward to the freedom of sunny days ahead but know the warm summer breezes will quickly whisk away rec ollections of times past. The main lesson on the last day of school in Jennifer Cortez’s first-grade class at Memorial Primary was about memories. Positioned in the center of a semi circle of cross legged 6 and 7 year olds, the teacher asked each student to remember their favorite activity from the past school year. One boy mentioned “field day," and another “playing with friends.” A little girl said “learning to be a good listener,’’ but the most popular response was “my teacher.” Cortez smiled and told die class she would like to read a letter she had written especially for them. She produced a small booklet tided “My First Grade Memory Book: Mrs. Cortez’s Class Memorial Primary 2004-2005” and turned to the last page. “Dear boys and girls,” she read. “I can’t believe the year is almost over. It seems like you all just walked through our classroom door, and now the end of our time together is drawing near." I ler eyes becoming slighdy misty, Cortez continued reading. “You will always be very special to me, for you are a special class,” Cortez said, pausing to wipe away a tear. “I’m sorry,” she said. “It’s just that I will miss you all so much.” “Thank you for making this year such an incredible one,” she continued. “I will always remember each of you. Please come back to visit Photos by DAVID INGRAM/Herald-Zeitung First-grader Claire Redlaczyk talks with Memorial Primary teacher Jennifer Cortez during their final lunch together. Below, Cortez comforts Steven Sanchez while juggling several other problems as the final moments of the school year tick away Friday afternoon. me as often as you would like.” Cortez then distributed identical b(X)klets to each of her 21 students. Bound in red construction paper were 13 pages of picture boxes and prompts such as “This is what I learned about in language arts” followed by lines for writing. Four pages of the little red book displayed yearbook photos of classmates with space underneath for autographs. Some students sat quietly, coloring pictures with markers and crayons. Others milled about the classroom asking “Can I please have your autograph?” — pronouncing the words “please” and “autograph" one syllable at a time. Seven-year-old I lannah I lancock showed off her album proudly. “1 got everyone’s autograph!” she exclaimed. Cortez walked around the room, helping students to maintain “inside voices,” thanking students for using See GOODBYE Page 3A I BLUEBONNET ^ a r    Jeep .New lh.mulch. I \ t I I I I * VV VV VV I * I » ll I » » I < > I ' . < <>111 ast TM. m*jmrmc**Mrjnrturner OVER 700 VEHICLES INSTOCK ;