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Hays Free Press
Kyle, Texas
June 19, 2013     Hays Free Press
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June 19, 2013

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+ REBEL TOP 10 The top 10 Hays High sports moments of 2012-2013. - Page 1B GIVING BACK Former abuse victim helps others through HEARTeam. - Page 1C @Barton Publications, Inc. ..... Vol. 111 No. 12 Serving Buda, Kyle and Northeast Hays County 75 BY KIM HILSENBECK Hays County woman is rglng Gov. Rick Perry o declare Texas a Prison State of Emergency. Charis Boissevain,Dawes of San Marcos is the wife of current Hays County Jail inmate, Justin Dawes, 32. She said her husband has been in and out of jails and prisons since he was a teenager. Charges against him in Hays County since 2002 include possession of a dangerous drug, arson, organized criminal activity and robbery- several at a felony level. "He's no angel," she said. "But the conditions of Texas prisons are deplorable." Prisoners and jail inmates suffering from mental health issues are particularly vulnerable, according to Boissevain-Dawes, a legal researcher. She said her husband used to hide from prison intake guards that he was diagnosed as bi-polar for fear of being singled out and treated differently than the rest of the prison population. Boissevain-Dawes sent a formal request to Perry on June 16 to declare the state of emergency, citing a multitude of problems with Texas prisons. Her letter to Perry said, in part, "Our prisons have become a monstrous big business that requires urgent reform. Our prisons, jails, and juvenile facilities are inhumane hell holes." The letter continued, "Most. of our prisons have no air conditioning. Inmates are raped by guards and guards turn a blind eye to inmates raping each other. Solitary confinement has proven to not work. The current Texas prison system violates human, civil, and mental health rights on absolutely every level. You know it and all of Texas knows it. The whole of America knows it." So passionate is Boissevain- Dawes about the cause of prison reform, she founded, a website dedicated to exposing the injustice and inhumanity of the Texas prison system. Boissevain-Dawes, a native of South Africa, said she has always been a reform advocate. A former war refugee, she said she witnessed families in terrible confusion, poverty and pain. She worked as a photographer and journalist during Apartheid. While she said she loves the United States, and has since moving here 15 years earlier, Boissevain-Dawes said her marriage to a man who has spent most of his adult life in and out of jail opened her eyes to the need for fast change in Texas prisons. "The Inkarcerate team will be working on, and striving for reform across the country," Boissevain-Dawes wrote on '~anericans Can no longer hope that the people in charge are making progressive decisions. Inkarcerate will be asking imnates, prison~gang members and repeat offenders how they .feel the system has failed, and how we can improve it." Boissevain-Dawes said she has bigger plans for Inkarcerate. She recently purchased a screenprinting machine and will begin rolling out a new clothing line early in 2014. The employees will all be connected to Texas prisons - former inmates, spouses of inmates and others who have been hurt or affected by the system. "We will use part of the profits from the business to help pay for legal representation for inmates who may be wrongly accused or wrongfully incarcerated," Boissevain-Dawes said. Her letter to Perry said, "If massive reform and change don't happen soon then the prison system is likely to financially cripple our state." She ended the letter saying, "Declaring Texas a Prison State of Emergency is a necessity for the future of Texas. You have the power to make a positive legacy for yourself. Integrity and empathy are a necessity to how we treat inmates and how we treat Texas." Charis Boissevain-Dawes wants Gov. prisons in a state of emergency. The Texas Civil Rights Project, a nonprofit that works to improve prison conditions, filed two lawsuits recently to force prisons to pay for air conditioning at every jail facility in the state - all 111 of them. The cost? It's really unknown, according to Austin attorney Scott Medlock, director of prisons' rights program at TCRP "It really just depends on what kind of air you're talking about," Medlock said. "For example, central air would be more expensive than window units." He was unable to give a Rick Perry to declare Texas ballpark figure, citing that his organization hasn't been able to get any estimates from prison officials on the cost. Medlock said there are also some low-cost alternatives to consider, such as installing awnings over windows to create more shade inside cells and other rooms, or installing sun-blocking screens on windows. He suggested Texas prison officials may also consider moving the most vulnerable inmates, including those with health conditions that make See KEEPING COOL, pg. 4A Kyle council mem r in fight with taxing entities BY ANDY SEVILLA Almost a year after the Hays County government filed a civil suit against Kyie Council Mem- ber Becky Selbera and her fam- ily for delinquent property taxes on two Kyie properties, a trial date has yet to be set; meanwhile, the elected official's legal residence, which belongs to her late father, too, is de- linquent, according to Hays County Tax Assessor-Collector records. On Aug. 31, 2012, SELBERA Hays County filed a lawsuit for the collection of delinquent property taxes for itself, Kyle, Austin Community College (ACC), Hays County Emergency Services District No.5, Plum Creek servation Dis- trict and Plum Creek Ground- waterDistricton a property at 501 W. Thiele, val- ued at $67,380~ and a second property at M E Moore, Block 1, Lot 2,3,4 and 5, valued at $14,000. As an elected official, Selbera may"not be de- linquent on any indebtedness to the city," ac- cording to the charter, and "If any member of the council ceases to possess Water Con- official, Selbera may. "not be delinquent any of the qualifications of office.., his/ her office shall, upon such fact being determined by the council, immediately become vacant..." Selbera and the co defendants in the county lawsuit - Mary S. Marfinez, Reynaldo Selbem Ill, Hope Selbem, Olga S. Flores, Sil- via Selbera and Alicia S. Reyna- owe Kyie $805.51 in delinquent property taxes on both proper- ties for 2011 and 2012, accord- ingto county records. All in all, the defendants owe $4,265.60 in back property tax- es on the two properties, if paid by the end of June; that figure would jump up to $4,732.41 if it's paid by July 31. Selbera said Tuesday she did not know any of the spe- cifics surrounding the lawsuit as she had relinquished own- ership on the two real estate possessions to her father be- fore he died in March. "I signed paperwork over to my dad, so he can handle that," Selbera said, adding that she does not have a copy of the document nor is she aware of where her late fa- ther may have left the piece of paper. '~11 of that was be- ing handled by my dad. My dad was ba- sically the caretaker of all that land," Setbera said. "Right now, my sister is handling my dad's estate. It's an estate matter and a personal matter." This is not the first time Hays County has had to file suit against the same defen- dants in efforts to collect de- linquent property taxes. The county filed a lawsnit against ks an elected Selbera and her family in the 207th District Court in )an. 2002, before the matter was dis- posed hi 2004 after the coun- ty received a $567 payment, on any records show. Selbera does indebtedness not live in nei- ther of the prop- to the cityll' erties named in the 2012 Hays according to County lawsuit against her and the charter, her family; but the property listed as her le- gal residence on Kyle's munici- palwebsite-301W.Thiele-also is in property tax delinquen~ County records show that $2,584.34 are owed in back tax- es on the property listed as Sel- bem's residence, which identi- fies her late-father as the owner. "I don't know" any details surrounding these cases, Sel- beta said. "We're just trying to rectify what's going on. I will be getting a lawyer." The Hays Free Press submit- ted an open records request looking into all Kyle and Buda council members' propertytax records from the Hays County Tax Assessor-Collector's Of- rice. Aside from Selbera, those documents showed that no other elected official on either council was delinquent.. I~b,, ha: Movie in the Park Every Friday in June, the Parks and Recreation department with the city of Buda will be playing a movie for free at the Buda City Park. This Fri- day at 9 p.m. bring your lawn chairs and blankets to Buda City Park and enjoy the movie Madagascar 3: Europe's Most Wanted. Conces- sions are available for purchase, but feel free to bring your own coolers. Celebrated on June 19, Juneteenth is a national i commemoration of the end of slavery in the United States. The holiday honors the arrival of troops in Galveston to enforce the Emancipation Proclamation. There will be a i parade starting at the Hays County Courthouse beginning :, at 10:30 a.m. Saturday to celebrate the occasion. I Hays County Day of Action On June 21, volunteers are asked to participate in the sixth annual United Way Day of Action in which volunteers make a collective impact by reading to young children in daycare centers throughout Hays County. The volunteers, who can be anybody, will take with them a donation of books for the center as well as educa- tional materials for the parents of the children at each facility. The event aims to raise awareness of the importance of early childhood education and reading. For more info, go to unitedwayhaysco. org/day-action. $29M STIMULUS Hays, Travis, Williamson counties receive federal stimulus money. - Page 1D Opinions ......................... 3A Business .................. I&4D Sports ........................ 1-2B Service Directory .......... 2-3D Education ..................... 3-4B Classifieds .................... 2D Neighbors ..................... 1-4C Public Notices ............... 2-4D Best Bets .................. 4C +