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The Lead Oct. 7, 2021: Abortion law is paused; appeal is coming

Texas is handed a defeat in court, but this fight is far from over


We are looking forward to a terrific The Lead Live this morning with Delayne Sigerman hosting and chatting with Kevin Bernhard and Clifton Fifer. You can expect Delayne to discuss her effort to cook everything in Ina Garten's cookbook, some Texas-based trivia and her wine pick. Fifer will give us a preview of Saturday's grand opening of the Doyle Community Center, while we're sure Bernhard will update us on the projects JK Bernhard Construction is developing. Bernhard Construction is one of the Hill Country's busiest firms, with recent projects that have included Arcadia Live, the H-E-B Tennis Center, and the Guadalupe River Trail extension between G Street and Schreiner University. Join us at 9 a.m.


Are you enjoying our content? As our region continues to grow, how will our communities handle the challenges of development, water and preserving what makes the Hill Country special — the natural beauty. These are the stories we are telling daily across our platforms, from our live morning webcast to our email newsletters. So, please consider subscribing to The Kerr County Lead.



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  • KPUB's Open House, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Kerrville Public Utility Board will have an open house in celebration of "Public Power Week." They will be offering "light refreshments," and you might get a free L.E.D. lightbulb. There will be other giveaways as well. Unfortunately, KPUB's Allison Bueche's two dogs won't be on hand to delight.
  • Planning and Zoning Commission, 4:30 p.m. This will be your chance to see the other Sigerman — Michael — in action. That's right, Michael Sigerman is the chairman of the planning and zoning commission meeting.


In a scolding injunctive statement about Texas' ban on abortions, U.S. District Court Judge Robert Pittman issued temporary restraining order or preliminary injunction blocking the ban from going into effect. However, it was his words that drew attention.

"That other courts may find a way to avoid this conclusion is theirs to decide; this Court will not sanction one more day of this offensive deprivation of such an important right," Pittman wrote.

U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland called the decision correct.

"Today's ruling enjoining the Texas law is a victory for women in Texas and for the rule of law," Garland said. "It is the foremost responsibility of the Department of Justice to defend the Constitution. We will continue to protect constitutional rights against all who would seek to undermine them."

Legal experts noted Pittman's 113-page opinion as a blunt instrument against Texas.

See @neal_katyal's post on Twitter.

Texas immediately filed an appeal in the Fifth District Court of Appeals.

On a day when there was a school shooting in Arlington and Texas Gov. Greg Abbott was at the border, there was limited response from the state about the ruling.


With 38 COVID-19-related deaths in August and September, we wanted to go back and look at the commonality of respiratory-related deaths in Kerr County in those two months.

What did we find? When it comes to respiratory-related deaths — 2021 has been like no other in Kerr County's recent history. Since 1999, Kerr County has averaged about 10 deaths in August and September from respiratory-related illnesses. The small numbers make it hard to pin down exact causes of death due to privacy restrictions enacted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

During that period, 1,559 Kerr County residents died from respiratory illnesses — 10.9% of all deaths in those 20 years. The two most significant categories are cancer and heart-related diseases. In that period, more than half of all deaths were from these two areas. Cancer claimed the lives of 3,219 people, while circulatory diseases killed another 4,460.

However, when it comes to respiratory illnesses, fatalities in those summer months accounted for 13.5 percent of all respiratory deaths in 20 years.

In September of 2019, 65 people died in Kerr County — more than half from cancer and heart diseases. Less than 10% were from respiratory ailments. If the trends hold steady, COVID-19 will likely be the No. 1 or No. 2 cause of death among Kerr County residents in September.

And as a reminder, in those 20 years, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, influenza killed 23 people in Kerr County. In 2021, COVID-19 will have killed approximately 97 people in 10 months.

Since 1968, there have been 2,921 respiratory-related deaths — about 57 per year. From 1968 to 1998, it's harder to track the monthly death toll.


After a lengthy closed-session meeting on Wednesday, Kerr County Judge Rob Kelly said the would be a public hearing at 9 a.m. on Oct. 14 to review proposed redistricting maps for the county precincts.

On Wednesday, the commissioners' court met for more than three hours behind closed doors discussing the redistricting proposals, delayed thanks to the coronavirus pandemic delaying the 2020 U.S. Census.


Our Kerrville troubadour, Konrad Wert is working his way through an epic 5,000-mile tour to music venues in 13 states. However, he posted a fun video dedicated to the owners of Center Point's Zanzenberg Farms — Justin and Kayte Graham. The Graham's also operate the Kerrville Farmer's Market.



Symphony of the Hills — River of the Stars, World Premier

7:30 p.m., The Cailloux Theater, Kerrville. $25

A professional symphony orchestra is drawn from the Hill Country and Central Texas, performing a passionate program of possibilities and unveiling a world premiere. You will works from Beethoven, De Falla, Wickman and Rachmaninoff. Information:


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


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