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The Lead Oct. 21, 2021: Raising awareness about Down Syndrome is all about love and care

We talked with parents about the importance of caring for their special needs children — longterm.


It's homecoming for the Tivy High School faithful. Yes, that means there will be a grand parade down Water Street at 6:30 p.m. today. On Friday, the 1-6 Antlers will play host to 6-1 Floresville — this is a must-win for the Antlers to keep their playoff hopes alive. Kickoff is 7:30 p.m., but the pregame festivities start at 6 p.m.


Delayne Sigerman takes over The Lead Live this morning, and she will chat with Kerrville City Councilwoman Judy Eychner and Kerrville-Kerr County Director Mary Rohrer. The show starts at 9 a.m. The main topic of conversation will be the airport, playing host to drag racing this weekend.

On Friday, The Lead Live guests will be Ingram Tom Moore High School Principal Justin Crittenden and Ingram Independent School District Assistant Superintendent Mindy Curran to discuss some of the innovative programs the district is utilizing. We are also joined by BCFS Health and Human Services-Kerrville's Norman Taylor and Michaela Carbajal to discuss some of their organization's programs.


COVID-19 claims 2 more in Kerr County

We reported on Wednesday that the Texas Department of State Health Services noted two more COVID-19 deaths. Over the weekend, we added nearly 1,000 new followers to The Lead, and one chided us about our numbers being confusing. Trust us, it is. So, here goes some fast facts, as we understand them:

Peterson Health reports its deaths in near real-time, as within a day of the person's death. We always message Peterson to confirm when the death happened. Peterson adds its totals into the number kept by the state.

BUT … Yes, this is where the but comes in. We cannot verify or corroborate Kerr County deaths reported by the Texas Department of State Health Services when it comes to Peterson. In previous conversations with DSHS, we've been told they only count deaths confirmed by a death certificate. Those numbers are tallied into an easily accessible spreadsheet that marks the date of death. We haven't seen a Peterson death match DSHS since at least December of last year.

However, the good news is that the number of cases is going down and the number of hospitalized. For more read here:

A fourth special session?

That's what Texas Gov. Dan Patrick wants for the state legislature. They might as well make them year-round at this point. Patrick wants to see stiffer criminal penalties for illegal voting and a forensic audit on elections. However, Gov. Greg Abbott is saying no — for now. Here's The Texas Tribune's story:


Hale Matthews, left, gives Cali Lehmann a fist bump at Pint and Plow on Wednesday morning. The two have Down Syndrome and were guests on The Lead Live with their parents to discuss National Down Syndrome Awareness Month.

We had two special guests on The Lead Live on Wednesday in Cali Lehmann and Hale Matthews. Along with their parents, we discussed National Down Syndrome Awareness Month.

During the hour-long conversation, we had two different points presented about caring for children with Down Syndrome — a chromosomal condition that scientists still don't fully understand.

For Pam Matthews and her family, Hale's birth came when she was 42 — it was unexpected. The Matthews had two older children nearly a decade apart. So, when Hale was born in 1990, there was a new baby in the house but one with significant special needs.

"I felt it was a tragedy at first," Pam Matthews said. "I had to grieve for a few months, and then I realized; 'wait, he's just like my other children.' There are a few things that are different, but you know every child is different."

Today, Hale Matthews is 31. He volunteers, he works, loves museums and he loves to travel. He told us that he particularly enjoys Rome — because it's like one giant museum.

In years past, families with down syndrome, or those with mental disabilities, were told to institutionalize their children. However, that started changing in the 1960s, and most state government-run institutions were closed. However, those with mental disabilities, especially adults, were subjected to discrimination. In 1985, the U.S. Supreme Court tossed a special-use permit requirement for a group home in Cleburne, Texas. In that case, the Supreme Court ruled the city of Cleburne had violated the 14th Amendment by denying a zoning permit to the home.

The Lehmanns.

Pam Matthews and her son, Hale.

In the case of Hale Matthews, his mother is well aware that her son will likely outlive her and her husband, and they are putting plans in place for his long-term care.

While acknowledging the care of special needs children often falls on siblings, Pam Matthews said she wants to see Hale live independently. The challenge with that endeavor is there are limitations in the Hill Country for that sort of care.

For Gene and Brittany Lehmann, they are still in the early stages of raising two-year-old Cali — a bubbly blond with the energy, curiosity and temperament you'd expect from any two-year-old — but they plan to live their life to the fullest.

Gene Lehmann described it as he's not going to be told no about how his family will move forward with a Down Syndrome child. Brittany Lehmann has already put in hours of work volunteering at Kerrville's Special Opportunity Center, where she serves on the board of directors with Pam Matthews.

All three are passionate to answer the call to serve this unique community and ensure that their children are loved and cared for in the years to come.

We'll have more on the journey of Cali and Hale in the November edition of The Lead magazine.


The Texas Legislature wrapped its third called special session on Tuesday with victories for Gov. Greg Abbott and arguably a setback for former President Trump.

The key takeaways from this special session were:

  • The legislature approved new redistricting maps for Congress, the Texas House, Texas Senate and State Board of Education. Kerr County's representation will change in two places — the board of education and the state senate. Kerr County, currently represented in District 5 of the board of education, will shift to Republican-leaning District 10, which John Maynard represents. Senate District 24 is an open seat with Sen. Dawn Buckingham opting to run for Texas Land Commissioner. So, that creates an opening. However, the county will continue to be represented by state Rep. Andrew Murr and U.S. Rep. Chip Roy.
  • In a party-line vote, the legislature adopted a bill that would ban transgender athletes in girls' sports governed by the state's University Interscholastic League. Murr was one of the yes votes — something he described as protecting girls' sports.
  • While Murr was voting to "protect girls' sports," he was voting against a bill that would protect dogs from inhumane treatment. It's the same bill that was vetoed by Abbott earlier this year — drawing irritation from animal rights groups. Murr has previously said the proposed law, which adds criminal penalties for those who fail to provide adequate shelter for pets or leave them chained for hours on end, is intended for urban areas without thought to those in rural communities.
  • The biggest battles were saved for the redistricting efforts for the U.S. House of Representatives, the Texas legislature and the state board of education. After Republicans turned back numerous amendments on map changes by Democrats, the new maps won approval. U.S. Rep. Chip Roy's 21st District went from being competitive to one that is solidly Republican. Most of the bluest parts of Travis County are in Roy's district — making for a tough campaign in 2020. However, the new map strips out the opposition, especially areas heavily opposed to Trump. Roy's only concern now is a primary challenge from a candidate who may want to run against him for his decision not to challenge the certification of the election of President Joe Biden.


With Andy Murr, once again, voting against a provision that would criminalize actions of animal abuse when it comes to sheltering and chaining of dogs, Kerrville Pets Alive! President Karen Guerriero said she was disappointed in Murr's decision.

"KPA! is disappointed that Rep. Murr voted against this bill," Guerriero wrote. "We believe every pet should be treated humanely regardless of their location."


We've got so much going on here in Kerr County that it's hard to keep up, but here's a rundown of what we know about:


Wine education we all need

  • 6 p.m., Kerrville Hills Winery
  • This is something we can all use — winemaking education. Trust us. This is how Kerrville Hills Winery describes the night: A one-night wine education session learning about winemaking styles, varietals, regions, and food pairing.

The Cleverlys

  • 6:30 p.m., The Pointe Theater, Southern Sky Music Cafe in Ingram.
  • Digger Cleverly, along with his nephews Ricky Lloyd, Sock, DVD and Cub, make up The Cleverlys. They have traveled the globe, if the globe only consisted of the United States, performing at music venues and some of the nation's largest festivals like Stagecoach, Telluride, CMA Music Fest and even the Grand Ole Opry. More information:


Opening Night of "Little Shop of Horrors"

  • 6 p.m., Cailloux Theater, Kerrville.
  • The Cailloux Theater will host an opening night dinner for the musical "Little Shop of Horrors," which runs afterward. It will be fun to see how Playouse 2000 depicts the mighty Audrey. Tickets start at $22 for adults. Dinner tickets are separate and require a performance ticket. Information: 830-896-9393 or


Airport Race Wars

  • 8 a.m.-11 p.m., Kerrville-Kerr County Airport
  • This was one of Kerrville's most significant events earlier this year, and it returns for another round of racing. Come see some of the fastest drag cars compete for over $8,000 in total prizes. Food and drink vendors will be onsite. Information:

Kerrville Pro Rodeo

  • 8:30 p.m., Hill Country Youth Event Center
  • This is a big one with bull riding, bareback and saddle bronc action. There will also be barrel racing. If you enjoy seeing kids get run over sheep, that is there as well. Infomration:

Kerrville Mountain Bike Festival

  • 1:30 p.m., Kerrville Schreiner Park
  • The festival brings a full weekend of mountain bike racing to Kerrville. This is the final race of 2020 Mountain Bike Texas Cup. American Mountain Bike Challenge (AMBC) race. One of 11 races selected from over 1,200 events nationwide. Organizers expect 700 competitors and spectators. Information:


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