The Lead Sept. 28: The pitch is made to replace West Kerr Annex

County committee makes its formal proposal to Kerr County commissioners.

Good morning!

We are heading into today looking forward to our 9 a.m. conversation with JAM Radio's Justin McClure about the state of and future of radio in the Hill Country. Watch it live or on-demand on our Facebook page.


The Kerrville City Council meets at 6 p.m. It figures to be more lively than Monday's Kerr County commissioner's court meeting, which featured a lot of information about the planned development around the county. The commissioners heard a presentation for more housing developments that would bring an additional 150 home sites to the more than 200 they've already heard proposed. These are homes on big lots — some 5-6 acres. However, considering the lack of construction over the last decade, all of these projects are significant. Just remember, the Kerrville planning and zoning commission heard presentations earlier this month for the construction of about 288 homes in the city limits.

The City Council agenda, as we mentioned on Monday, is full of discussion about some of the rules guiding city development. The meeting is at the Cailloux Theater, 910 Main Street.


The big difference here — between the city and the county — is that the city has a measure of control over the development. The county? Not so much.


Proposed annex building to serve west Kerr County.

If there was one bit of consensus from everyone in the Kerr County Commissioners Court, it's that the West Kerr Annex building in Ingram sucks — and we can say that.

The county announced Monday that it had purchased property fronting Texas 39, across the Hill Country Arts Foundation Point Theatre and the youth ball fields next to Ingram Tom Moore High School.

Ingram Independent School District Superintendent Bobby Templeton, who is helping lead a capital improvement project committee, presented to the court on Monday about the county's proposed new building.

"It would be very simple," Templeton said. "It would not be ornate at all. It would be highly functional."

The current building, 3350 Junction Highway, is anything but functional. More like, icky.

"There are a lot of people out in West Kerr that just don't want to come all the way to the courthouse,"

said Don Harris, county commissioner for Precinct 4, in which the annex sits. "So, (the annex) is utilized, and they deserve better."

Templeton said the county should build a 6,000 square foot building to replace the current annex, which the county has to rent.

"Our recommendation (to the county commissioners' court) is for this project to move forward with whatever we need to make it happen," he added.


The city recently re-striped Jefferson Street between Sidney Baker Highway and Franciso Lemos Street. The city added head-in parking along the south side of the street, but there was one unintended consequence — it's tough to see if you're trying to pull out onto Jefferson from another street or driveway. While the street looks great, and the parking is helpful, Jefferson can be a bit of a race track because there are no stop signs at Clay and Quinlan streets — east-west motorists a straight shot between two points. So, our advice is to be careful.


After more than 50 days of caring for 20 or more COVID-19 patients, Peterson Regional Medical Center caught a break on Monday when the hospital's census fell to 16 patients.

It was the lowest number hospitalized in Kerr County since July. However, Peterson and Kerr County isn't out of this surge yet. Sixteen people remain hospitalized, including seven in the intensive care unit.

Peterson said 19 people tested positive over the weekend. The Texas Department of State Health Services said there remained more than 200 active cases.

Kerr County cases compared to the same period last month have fallen 17%. Earlier in the month, Kerr County was on a pace to eclipse August's positive cases.

"So, while our hospitalizations are going back down here and across the region and our active case counts are somewhat steady and not making huge gains – and those are positive things — we do have the sad reality that we have suffered an additional two deaths of Kerr County residents," said Dub Thomas, Kerr County's emergency services coordinator.

While the county continues to follow DSHS reporting on deaths, The Lead believes the toll is much higher.


During Monday's episode of The Lead Live, Kerrville Pets Alive President Karen Guerriero suggested her advocacy group would support Kerr County Animal Control Services, administered by Kerr County Sheriff Larry Leitha.

"We have visited several county (animal control) facilities that are operated by the sheriff's department, and they have proven to be a good thing," Guerriero said. "I would like to have that conversation to see."


During the Sept. 22 episode of The Lead Live, Texas Rep. Andrew Murr told us why he opposed the dog outdoor safety bill that Gov. Greg Abbott eventually vetoed.

Senate Bill 474 had broad bipartisan support and aimed to create a level of enforcement for owners of dogs and animals being neglected — or left outside in extreme conditions. Animal advocates argued the bill was an essential tool in protecting animals from being chained or leashed in unsafe conditions. The authors added a criminal offense level to the law to give it teeth — most notably a Class B misdemeanor.

While the bill passed the Senate with a 28-3 vote, Abbott vetoed it, saying it was an overreach. Murr argued that the bill would be problematic in rural areas, and he was one of 32 who voted against it in the House.

However, Abbott put the bill onto the special session call to be reconsidered. Kerrville Pets Alive is hoping he changes his mind.


Rev. Phillip Schulman has taken over the Unitarian Universalist Church of the Hill Country congregation in Kerrville.

"Our congregation is delighted to welcome Rev. Schulman into our community and look forward to his inspiring sermons and his active participation in the life of the Kerrville faith community," said Jerry Best, president of the church's board of trustees.

Schulman, a Rutgers University and Starr King Unitarian Universalist Seminary graduate, has served congregations in New Jersey, St. John, U.S. Virgin Islands, San Antonio, and Houston. His "community ministry" has included community organizing in the field of mental health and addictions. He has worked as an addictions counselor and directed one of the nation's first "Crisis Alternative Programs" designed to reduce the use of force and violence in mental health crisis response.

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