We've got a great show lined up for you this morning with Allison Bueche of KPUB stopping by to discuss Public Power Week, including Saturday's event at Louise Hays Park, where you can get into a bucket truck and be lifted skyward. We did stop by KPUB on Thursday afternoon for the open house, and fortunately, no one was there. That left a delicious meat and cheese tray for us to sift through. We were also hoping to see Chief Financial Officer Amy Dozier in her new office, rather than where we usually see her — at H-E-B. Anyway, the show is at 9 a.m. today, and Bueche may bring KPUB CEO Mike Wittler with her.
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- There were nine new COVID-19 cases, according to Peterson Health. However, 15 people remained hospitalized.
- Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton filed an appeal with the U.S. Fifth District Court of Appeals to overturn a District Court judge's decision to stop the state's abortion ban.
- Paxton wasn't done Thursday, telling U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland to pound sand on an effort to protect school boards and teachers who are facing threats over COVID-19 or the teaching of critical race theory.
See @KenPaxtonTX's post on Twitter.
- Texas got more good news economically when Elon Musk announced that Tesla would relocate its headquarter to Austin from California. The key Musk quote, running against Gov. Greg Abbott's narrative: "We're taking it as far as possible, but there's a limit how big you can scale it in the Bay Area. Just to be clear, though, we will be continuing to expand our activities in California. This is not a matter of leaving California." However, that didn't stop Abbott and Sen. Ted Cruz from hamming it up to brag about the move. As a reminder, Abbott blamed renewable energy for February's power outages and argued against the tax subsidies they received. Interestingly, Tesla gets lots of subsidies. Read more here: https://apnews.com/article/technology-business-palo-alto-elon-musk-austin-7a9b375a5b69c25564c9ae4dc4fba64e
CLIFTON FIFER STOPS BY
The Doyle Community Center's grand re-opening is set for 5 p.m. on Saturday, and Clifton Fifer, who never seems to run out of energy, stopped by The Lead Live on Thursday to chat about the opening. Saturday night's event marks an important milestone in revitalizing the historic and once segregated Doyle neighborhood. The school has long served as an essential hub of community engagement for generations, and its renewed building provides it an even brighter future.
"There's a lot of excitement in the community of Kerrville," Fifer said. "We could have 350-400 people. It's a come-and-go event."
Fifer noted that the event would celebrate the work of Annie Doyle, who founded the school in 1912, and B.T. Wilson, the beloved teacher and principal, who many called "Prof." Here's a bit of Fifer talking about Wilson's efforts:
PLANNING AND ZONING PUNTS DECISION TO CITY COUNCIL ON CORONADO DRIVE DEVELOPMENT
Homeowner Jennyth Peterson argued against a housing development that would abut Mountain Laurel View in Kerrville. The project would require annexation and a zoning change. The planning and zoning commission voted to let the City Council to decide the matter.
A divided Kerrville planning and zoning commission kicked a decision about a planned development — just outside the city limits — up to the City Council on Thursday evening.
At stake was a 44-home development in The Heights, an unincorporated area of Kerrville's north side along Coronado Drive, and a request to zone it R-1, a higher residential density use. Commission chairman Mike Sigerman said he was concerned that approving the plan went against the wishes of those who lived in the city. Much of the property currently sits in the county.
"I feel my responsibility is the citizens of Kerrville," said Sigerman, adding the annexation doesn't benefit the neighbors or residents.
The decision comes as residents along Mountain Laurel View mounted opposition to the plan. Jennyth Peterson, who led the opposition, argued the planned development wasn't appropriate for the community, would cause flooding issues and that the property was better off being a city park. Peterson said that if development were coming, the better option would be residential estates, similar to The Heights' zoning.
Despite extensive efforts by the Wellborn Engineering firm to assuage those fears by presenting comprehensive plans to solve ongoing flooding from the undeveloped land, commissioners said they wanted the land to be zoned residential estates.
How this will play out in the City Council is unclear, but it does have the authority to grant the annexation and overrule the zoning. It's also unclear when this could come before the City Council. Since most of the acreage sits in the county, it would need annexation to achieve some of the density proposed in the plan.
One of the biggest complaints of the neighborhood is significant water runoff from the property. Peterson showed examples of water pouring into backyards along Mountain Laurel and water gushing from retention basins designed to handle flooding.
Wellborn Engineering said it planned to divert much rainwater into an underground pipe buried under a proposed street. From there, water would flow into retention basins. It was a highly technical conversation about fluid hydrodynamics. At one point, City Engineer Kyle Burrow tried to move the meeting forward by saying Wellborn had provided a proposal that went above typical requirements for preliminary plat approval.
In the end, even that didn't change the minds of at least four of the commissioners. So, now comes a potential fight for the City Council to navigate.
We mistakenly reported that planning and zoning would consider a preliminary plat on a 43-home development in the Bluebell Estates area, but that was approved last month. We apologize for the confusion.
BUT, BUT, BUT
So, part of the confusion rested because across Holdsworth Drive, the planning and zoning commission approved a platting decision on four parcels that may or not be commercially developed.
FRED HENNEKE TELLS IT LIKE IT IS
If one person intimately knows the spatial woes of Kerr County's administrative offices, it's former Judge Fred Henneke.
As the county preps for placing general obligation bonds on November 2022 ballot, Henneke and others on a capital facilities committee are speaking out about the issues they see with county buildings.
"There's just no space,'' Henneke said during an episode of The Lead Live on Oct. 6. "They are just jamming stuff everywhere they can. The county is beyond patching."
While it's been nearly 20 years since Henneke was Kerr County Judge, the problems he was starting to see then are really problematic now. A potent mix of unfunded mandates from the state and a lack of storage are two contributing problems to the county's spatial crunch, but others are emerging.
"I was not aware of the critical situation of the animal control shelter," said Henneke while praising the work of KCAS Director Reagan Givens. "The way the judge described it, it's inhumane. He's right. So we have to fix that."
THINGS TO DO TODAY, THIS WEEKEND
The Bad Seed
7:30 p.m., The Point Theater, 120 Point Theatre Road, Ingram.
"The Bad Seed" tells the story of a mother's realization that her young daughter is a murderer. The scene is a small Southern town where Colonel and Christine Penmark live with their daughter, Rhoda. Little Rhoda Penmark is the evil queen of the story. On the surface, she is sweet, charming, full of old-fashioned graces, loved by her parents, and admired by her elders. But Rhoda's mother has an uneasy feeling about her. The show runs through Oct. 30. Information:
Star Party at Schreiner University
7:30 p.m., Loftis Family Science Center, Schreiner University, Kerrville.
In this free event, visitors can get a chance to view celestial objects in the Hill Country sky in the domed observatory containing Schreiner's 16-inch telescope. Several eight-inch telescopes will also be available for public viewing. Free parking is available adjacent to the center. The entrance gate is along East Main Street across from the Schreiner University baseball and softball fields and is marked by a flagpole. The star party will generally go till about midnight, and participants may come and go at any time. Information: 830-792-7249
The Sunrise Lions' Steve Hamilton Memorial Color Fun 5K Run
7:30 a.m., Texas Lions' Camp, Kerrville.
Who doesn't like a little color in their lives, especially to start the morning? Proceeds support the Kerrville Sunrise Lions Club, a non-profit organization providing programs for our community and the Texas Lions Camp. To Register: https://www.runsignup.com/Race/TX/Kerrville/SunriseLionsColorFunRun
Mountain Home Volunteer Fire Department's Steak Dinner Fundraiser
4 p.m., Mountain Home Volunteer Fire Department, Mountain Home.
OK, who doesn't like a good barbecue steak? Better yet, a firehouse barbecue steak. Help the volunteers to provide critical services to West Kerr County. Call: 830-866-3310 for more information.
Kerr County Celtic Festival
9 a.m.-6 p.m., Hill Country Arts Foundation, 120 Point Theatre Road, Ingram.
With men attired in kilts, there will be throwing things and playing pipes. The pandemic cut this event short last year.
THE COARSENESS OF POLITICAL DISCUSSION
We saw this driving around Kerrville on Thursday. As a bit of context, they had a Kerrville sticker promoting the Empty Cross. It seems like our political discourse continues to erode.