The Lead Sept. 14: Hurricane Nicholas drenches Texas coast; Kelly pours water on conspiracy theories

Kerr County Judge Rob Kelly refuses to take the bait on discussing COVID-19 conspiracies and 5G radio waves.

GOOD MORNING! It's Tuesday. We've got a terrific show today at 9 a.m. on The Lead Live with real estate agent Janelle Peralt to discuss the current state of the market, and Mary Ellen Summerlin will stop by to discuss current events with us.


The Kerrville City Council meets tonight at 6 p.m. Lots of reading on the agenda. Here's our story advancing the meeting:



Late Monday night Tropical Storm Nicholas strengthened into Hurricane Nicholas with a direct aim at Galveston and Houston before turning northeast toward Louisiana (the last thing those folks want to see).

National Weather Service forecasters predict the storm could drop 20 inches of rain on parts of Texas.

See @ReedTimmerAccu's post on Twitter.


The Kerr County Commissioners Court gave its unanimous blessing for a second round of drag racing at the Kerrville-Kerr County Airport at Schreiner Field. The race is set for Oct. 23. It's the second time this year that the airport has played host to the event. In March, an estimated 3,000 people attended the first set of races, which featured a variety of classes running down a 1/8-mile runway.

While you won't see nitro methane here in Funny Cars or Top Fuel dragster, you will see a lot of diesel-powered trucks running down the track. It's also a place for street racers to get off the streets and prove their mettle.

Airport Director Mary Rohrer wrote a glowing document of support for the organizers and assured them that problems with leaking oil and other fluids would be handled efficiently. Those incidents, usually due to blown engines, are the bane of most race promoters because they slow the competition down during the cleanup. Race cars can be wildly unpredictable — especially in the hands of inexperienced drivers. Even in the hands of experienced drivers at dedicated raceways, race cars can lead to the deaths of drivers and spectators.

This daylong race has spectators set back from the race and behind fencing, but there's nothing to keep cars from veering off the track.

Earlier this year, at a track near El Paso, one person was killed and seven others injured when a buggy-style race truck crashed into spectators, and a similar incident took place in Atlanta.

However, the success of the event seemed to tamp down any concerns about safety.


Kerr County Judge Rob Kelly wasn't having a discussion with a Precinct 2 resident about COVID-19 mask and vaccine mandates. To say Kelly scolded Alicia Bell, who questions the accuracy of COVID-19 reporting, was putting it mildly.

"I've been very tolerant and lenient on this," Kelly told Bell. "If you have action for this court to take this is your opportunity to ask us. But you really need to have these issues vetted by your commissioner before you put them on the agenda."

Bell said the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is putting fear into people to get vaccinated.

"There's nothing we can do about it," Kelly said. "Why are you here to talk to us?"

"I've been very tolerant and lenient on this," Kelly told Bell. "If you have an action for this court to take this is your opportunity to ask us. But you really need to have these issues vetted by your commissioner before you put them on the agenda."

Kelly tried to explain the county had nothing to do with the power lines, but then Bell's true intention revealed itself.

"I want to know if it's 5G," Bell asked, referencing a conspiracy theory about 5G wireless signals spreading COVID or other things. 5G radio signals now power connectivity to most mobile devices.

Kelly cut her off.

"It's electricity," Kelly said. "This is not a communication line."

Kelly then explained it was a project of the Lower Colorado River Authority.

"All you have to do is pick up the phone and they can explain it all to you," Kelly said.

But Bell wasn't done and said that 5G can be installed on power lines. Kelly was finished at that point and admonished her to make phone calls to answer questions rather than asking the court.


Last week, Kerr County Animal Control Services lost a dog along Thompson Drive that was being taken to the shelter after its owner was taken into custody on suspicion of driving under the influence. The dog was in a crate when the crate was dislodged from the back of a county pick-up truck early Thursday morning.

The dog, a Jack Russell terrier, was found on Friday still in the crate and unharmed by a passerby. The dog was returned to its owner.

"We take, what we call protective custody, of any animal that they have with them," explained KCAS director Reagan Givens to the commissioner's court.

Givens said the tailgate to the county's truck was left open, allowing the dog to fall out in its crate en route to the shelter.

"I want to assure the court that I'm going to take action," said Givens, adding that the search effort was aided by the Kerr County Sheriff's Office and volunteers from Kerrville Pets Alive. "I'm going to be doing a review of our procedures."

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