Cherokeean/Herald (Rusk, Tex.), Vol. 147, No. 24, Ed. 1 Thursday, July 13, 1995 Page: 1 of 40
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2627 E YANDELl DR
TX. 79903 «
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Texas' Oldest, Continuously Published Weekly Newspaper ~ Established Feb. 27,1850 as the Cherokee Sentinel
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Vol. 147, No> ,24 42 Pages
Thursday, July 13, 1995
Rusk, Texas 75785 25 cents
Commissioners Court pays
fees for Busby case lawyers
THE EMERGENCY ROOM of East Texas Medical Center Rusk received a designation by the
state as a Level IV Trauma Center last week. The Rusk hospital becomes one of 22 hospitals
in the state to receive this rank. At the presentation from left are Jim Arnold, program manager
for the Texas Department of Health Emergency Medical Service Public Health Division for
Regions IV and V, ETMC Rusk Director of Nurses Suzanne Pilette, Administrator Donna
Gunter, and Vicki Grassette, assistant director of nurses. Not pictured is Fran Jones, R. N.,
emergency room supervisor. -staff photo
ETMC Rusk becomes 22iid hospital to
receive Level IV trauma designation
Facility meets Health Department's stringent guidelines
East Texas Medical Center Rusk recently received
designation by the state as a Level IV Trauma Center,
which makes the facility one of 22 hospitals in the state
with that ranking.
The announcement came from Jim Arnold, program
manager for the Texas Department of Health Emer-
gency Medical Service Public Health
Division for Regions IV and V.
Guidelines established by the
Texas Department of Health de-
scribe a Level IV center's responsi-
bilities as "provides resuscitation
and stabilization (advanced trauma
support) and arranges for appropri-
ate transfer of all patients with maj or
and severe head ¡injuries to a higher
level trauma facility."
The hospital's trauma center un-
derwent a stringent review of medi-
cal equipment and written protocols
.to receive the designation.
"I'm very pleased that our emer-
gency center met all standards in
full with noareas ofnoncompliance,"
said Donna Gunter, administrator
at ETMC Rusk.
ETMC Tyler was the first hospital in the state to be
designated as a Level II trauma center, which serves as
a primary referral facility for critically injured patients
needing the highest level of trauma care available in the
Later this month, ETMC facilities in Athens and Mt.
Vernon will receive Level IV designations'.
Level IV Trauma
"This commitment to the trauma designation process
illustrates the ETMC Regional Healthcare System's
commitment to providing the regional network of trauma
and emergency care for East Texas," said Mrs. Gunter.
ETMC Rusk is a 49-bed facility that is accredited by
the Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare
Organizations. Medical facilities and
resources include healthcare profes-
sionals and physicians who provide
diagnostic, therapeutic and rehabili-
tative services on an inpatient and
Level I trauma facilities include only
two facilities: Parkland in Dallas and
University Medical Center in Lubbock.
Both are university-based teaching
hospitals. These facilities generally
offer more specialized services, such
as burn units, neurosurgical and pedi-
atric neurosurgical departments and
Level II hospitals such as ETMC
Tyler provide initial definitive trauma
care for all types of injuries, and fre-
quently handle referrals from Level
III and IV hospitals.
Level III facilities provide assessment, resuscita-
tions, emergency operations and stabilization, as well
as transfers to definitive trauma centers.
The Level IV designation was created for smaller,
rural hospitals, to provide advanced trauma support
prior to transfer.
Br Teri Ellis
Cherokee County Commissioners
Court members balked at the hourly
rate schedule of Jasen Shane Busby's
court-appointed lawyers, but voted
4-1 to authorize the payment of the
bills along with other monthly bills
The decision to pay the legal fees
came after the court tabled action on
payment at their June 12 and June
Commissioners questioned an
April 20 document establishing a fee
schedule in the Busby case. They
contended a May 1992 document
outlining attorneys fees applied to
the Busby defense, which set a lower
Commissioners expressed concern
about letting an appeals court de-
cide which document applies, be-
cause new legal fees could quickly
offset any savings to the county if
the court ruled in favor of the 1992
'The cost to the county for the fees
would have been less than the cost to
fight it on appeal," Commissioner
Bob Gregg, precinct 1, said.
Gregg read a prepared statement
in open court outlining his position.
(See sidebar story.)
agreed without a vote that the fees
exceeded what they thought was fair,
but concluded in a vote of 4-1 to go
ahead with the payment of all the
county bills, including the legal fees.
Commissioners Gregg; Alton
Hicks, precinct 2; Billy McCutcheon,
precinct 4 and County Judge Harry
Tilley voted to authorize the county
auditor to pay the bills. But, Com-
missioner F.E. Hassell, precinct 3
The commissioners court autho-
rized the payment of $10,519.60
from the time period April 17 - June
1 to public defenders Craig Caldwell
and JoAl Sheridan in the capital
County auditor Frank Madden
expects to receive more bills when
the trial gets underway. "I just hope
(today's ruling) opens the door with-
out further hassle for other bills that
will come in on this case," he said.
In the June 8 issue of the Chero-
keean/Herald, District Judge J.R.
Hlease see Cherokee, pg. 11
Gregg reads prepared statement into court records
Commissioner E.R. (Bob) Gregg, Jr. of Precinct 1 read a letter
of his position in the debate regarding alleged murderer Jasen
Shane Busby and his lawyers'fees in the Cherokee County Com-
missioners meeting on Monday. Many of the other commissioners
agreed with his statement.
"I want it to be perfectly clear that my opposition to the court
appointed attorneys' fees was not directed at any individual
attorney, or attorneys. My opposition is not, or was not, directed
to any particular case, or pending causes thereto.
"My opposition was, and still is, directed at an order that was
issued in May of 1992, which stipulated the amount of fees to be
paid to court-appointed attorneys. Minimum and maximum
fees were set, and all four judges signed.the order. The Commis-
sioners Court accepted the order in good faith, and without
"If special circumstances would warrant deviating from the
minimum or maximum fee schedule, then it should have been at
least mentioned in the original order.
"We are now, as I see it, under a Court Order to pay. Our only
alternative, I suppose, would be to appeal to the Appeals Court
in Tyler. This would only cost the tax-payers more, and I have
a hard time believing that a panel of judges would rule in our
"I would remind this Commissioners Court that we have the
4t*6* d responsibility to create and live by a budget. It is our
duty and responsibility to see that we live within our revenues.
Yet others, with no budget responsibilities whatsoever, can
force us to spend taxpayers' money, whether or not it is within
"I repeat, my opposition has nothing whatsoever to do with
S^any particular attorney, or any particular case." ^
Hefty Tax Anticipated
Round #1 of Rusk budget workshop
indicatesjiigher water, sewer rates
Rusk residents can expect higher
water and sewer rates along with a
hefty tax increase, City Manager
Brenda Williams indicated at the
city council's first budget hearing
Monday afternoon at city hall.
' Williams explained the cost of fi-
nancing the new sewer plant with
bonds totaling$2.5 million will cause
The city manager is responsible
for preparing the budget. In the
notice calling the meeting, she indi-
cated she sought guidance of the
bonded indebtedness and capitali-
"I would like to see you go back and
check your figures, line by line, and
be certain thít all "fat" is elimi-
nated," Rusk Mayor Emmett
Whitehead said to the city manager.
'There is not any fat in the bud-
get," she said, and cited poor man-
agement and lack of keeping up with
necessary maintenance in the past
as contributing problems.
Tentative schedule for the sale of
bonds is set for December, and con-
struction followingin January, 1996.
A total of $199,969.76 of additional
money will be needed to service the
The council voted to authorize Wil-
liams to set up an emergency fund of
$50,000 to cover unforeseen costs
and capital improvements.
The next regular city council meet-
ing was changed from July 13 to
Monday, July 17 at 5 p.m.
The change was made when
Whitehead cited a personal conflict
involvingmedical treatnientofa fam-
Also, Councilwoman Gloria
Jennings is out-of-state and would
have missed the July 13 meeting.
She will be able to attend the re-
Cherokee County districts may benefit
from court decision on education funding
Former jailer indicted
for stealing $23,000
State Senator Drew Nixon, (R-
Carthage) endorsed the decision of
District Judge F. Scott McCown, who
ruled that the state government has
been miscalculating the aid it owes
school districts for public education
for the past ten years.
Seventy school districts brought a
law suit against the state claiming
that the State Comptroller's method
of determining school d istrict's prop-
erty wealth discriminated against
districts with property tax relief,
particularly to senior citizens.
Cherokee County schools were not
parties to the lawsuit but stand to
^benefit from McCown's ruling. A 10-
year-old state law said that school
.districts would receive ftill credit in
¿he calculation of public education
aid for property values lost due to
the constitutional freeze on school
property taxes for citizens 65 and
70 school districts
participated in class
Regardless of the law's intent, the
state has only been giving partial
credit to the districts. Judge McCown
mandated that the state correct the
error and fund the overdue aid to
approximately 225 school districts.
The ruling means that several
schools in Cherokee and surround-
ing counties stand to receive addi-
tional funds. According to figures
supplied by Senator Nixon's office
Jacksonville ISD suffered state aid
loss in the amount of $113,012 or
$470perclassroom. Rusk ISD,based
on the same figures, suffered state
aid losses of $53,866 or $544 per
Senator Nixon stated, "I whole-
heartedly agree with the ruling of
Judge McCown. Local school dis-
tricts, including 64 in my Senatorial
District, have been short-changed
by the state in the determination of
monetary aid for public educ&tion."
According to figures supplied by
Nixon's office schools in Senate Dis-
trict three, Nixon's Senate District,
are owed $3,496,013.
Sid Danner, chief appraiser of the
Cherokee County Appraisal District,
informed the Cherokeean/Hearld
that he had not received the num-
bers that were circulated to all of the
senators. 'The lawyers for the school
districts involved can't even tell how
much money is involved yet," Danner
said. Danner went, on to Bay, "the
amounts referred to are possibly computer reprogramming will have
premature. The District Court hasn't to take place before the final figures
sent down final orders yet." can be calculated and there is no
Danner indicated that possible time frame for this.
School districts with
state aid losses due to
omestead tax calculations
• f O 1
Anderson $33,150 $360
■Data supplied by Stat Sen. Drew Nixon and
compiled by the Cherokeean/Herald
Curtis Mora, 29, is accused of steal-
ing approximately $23,000 from a
jail fund, said Cherokee County Sher-
iff James Campbell.
The former Cherokee Countyjailer
found himself on the other side of a
jail cell June 19 for felony theft and
burglary charges after the grand jury
returned sealed indictments.
He is free on two $3,000 bonds.
Burglary charges resulted when
Tyler police discovered guns at a
pawn shop and traced them to Mora.
He allegedly stole the weapons from
a friend's home, where Mora was
living at the time.
'The burglary charge had nothing
to do with the theft charge (in the
sheriffs office)," the sheriff ex-
Mora was fired from his job at the
Cherokee County Sheriffs Dept. last
April for policy violations prior to
the sealed indictment. 'The viola-
tions relate to off-duty conduct,"
Campbell continued. He declined to
elaborate on the specifics.
At the time of Mora's discharge,
the missing funds had not been dis*
The shortage of money triggered a
thorough investigation of the
sheriffs office by the district attor-
ney and county auditor, Campbell
Mora worked in the sheriffs de-
partment from 1992 until April as a
warrants officer. He was bonded by
Cherokee County for $5,000.
Pleasee see Jailer, pg. 4
Gramm aide will give report
of Congress' first 100 days
Luncheon will be held in Jacksonville
U.S. Senator Phil Gramm will send
an administrative assistant to Jack-
sonville July 18 to provide input on
legislative priorities and national
Sponsored by the Jacksonville
Chamber of Commerce, the noon
luncheon will begin at 11 a.m. at the
Summers A. Norman Activity Cen-
John Savercool, state affairs ad-
ministrative assistant, plans to re-
view the first 100 days of the current
Cost of the luncheon is $7.50, and
tickets may be purchased at the
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Cherokeean/Herald (Rusk, Tex.), Vol. 147, No. 24, Ed. 1 Thursday, July 13, 1995, newspaper, July 13, 1995; Rusk, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth152224/m1/1/: accessed July 23, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Singletary Memorial Library.