Whew, this was an amazing weekend, and we're sort of wiped out from all of the fun, but if you love activities, there's, even more coming up this weekend — a lot more. There are two key events today:
- It's Indigenous Peoples Day, or depending on your interpretation of history; it's also Columbus Day! While this isn't a state holiday in Texas, it is a banking holiday. So, plan your day accordingly.
- It's International Girls Day. The United Nations, which authored a resolution, describes the day like this: "Adolescent girls have the right to a safe, educated, and healthy life, not only during these critical formative years, but also as they mature into women."
ON THE LEAD LIVE TODAY
Programming note, we will have two shows this week before going on a hiatus until Oct. 20, but we've got two great shows this week starting at 9 a.m. Here's a sneak peek:
- Today's show features a conversation with Lisa Field, who runs the Lucky Star Camp in Hunt. This will be an exciting discussion because this is a camp dedicated to women and the arts. The camp is the first weekend in November at Camp Waldemar. https://luckystarartcamp.com/ Bella Shearhart and Alyson Amestoy will stop by to talk about their body positivity project.
- On Tuesday, Kellie Early and the Republican Women will be on to discuss some of their upcoming events. Leslie Jones and Kristin Lusher will also join us to discuss the Kerrville Chalk Festival this weekend.
NEWS TO KNOW
- Texas A&M stunned No. 1-ranked Alabama on Saturday, and Twitter is still buzzing about the epic upset. Here's one of the best videos reacting to the game-winning kick:
See @barstoolsports's post on Twitter.
- COVID-19 cases continued to fall across the state. Gov. Greg Abbott took to Twitter to celebrate the news, but he left out that more than 13,000 people have died from the virus since Aug. 1. The death toll will continue to climb in the weeks to come.
WHAT A WEEKEND
We had an incredible weekend of activities, with celebrations of public workers, kilted people throwing heavy things and some profoundly moving ceremonies to mark the opening of public buildings. Here's a recap:
DOYLE COMMUNITY CENTER WOWS EVERYONE
The opening of the Doyle Community Center on Saturday was an emotional experience for many who were there. Kerrville City Councilwoman Judy Eychner, who is on the board at Doyle, texted us to say that "possibilities" is what the opening represents. She's right. Here's our coverage from the day: https://kerrcountylead.com/394223389093420
KPUB HOISTS UP PUBLIC POWER WEEK
Leave it to the Kerrville Public Utility Board to make an electric offer to celebrate Public Power Week — free hot dogs and a lift in a bucket truck. It's hard to say no to that.
So, on Saturday, several hundred people showed up at Louise Hays Park for a towering experience that reached about 35-feet into the air on a spectacularly clear day in Kerrville. There was a solid line for those wanting to climb into the hydraulic-powered bucket lift that allowed electrical workers to make some of their most challenging repairs.
If heights weren't your thing, there were flashy demonstrations on arcing power lines and all of the safety tools used by the utility's workers. And if you just wanted a delicious barbecue hot dog, those were available as well.
Allison Bueche, KPUB's marketing and customer service manager, was pleased with the turnout. "People are appreciative of KPUB and what our organization is," Bueche said. "They've been really excited about having this event at the park."
IT WAS A GOOD DAY FOR A KILT
The way Marcelo Derosseau sees it, the heavy lifting performed on the field of competition will help drive the future of the Kerr County Celtic Festival. Derosseau, who lives in Kerrville, drew praise from the competitors of the games portion of the festival, and those competitors traveled from all over Texas to compete in Ingram at the Hill Country Arts Foundation.
One of those competitors was Ryan Kidder of Rockwall — a bustling suburb east of Dallas. Kidder competes in 10 Highland Games per year around the state, and Kerr County is one of his favorite events.
"You can't beat the Hill Country and the weather," said Kidder, who also praised Derosseau's management of the games. Kidder was leading early in the putting competition with a toss of more than 33-feet.
In the games, competitors must compete in the following events:
- Putting the stone, think shot-putting a 16- to 22-pound rock for men and a 13-18 pound rock for women.
- Throwing the weights for distance is where men throw a 28-56 chained weight — with one hand. Same discipline for women, but it's 14-28 pounds.
- Throwing the hammers, and this one is fun to watch. Men throw a 16-22 pound hammer connected to a long handle, and the women throw them from 12-16 pounds. But watch out because these things can get loose.
- Tossing the caber is one of the signature events, and competitors said Derosseau's collection of the wooden poles to toss in the state of Texas.
- Tossing the sheaf is where competitors launch a burlap bag filled with stuff (mulch, etc. ) with a pitchfork. The men's competition features a 20-pound bag, while the women's bag is 12 pounds.
- Tossing the weight for height is another well-loved event where men throw a 56-pound weight as high as they can, while women use a 28-pound weight.
Max Mata, a 21-year-old from San Antonio, said he loved competing and appreciated the support from older and more experienced competitors.
"Everyone is great," said Mata, adding there's a need for some younger competitors. "It's cheerful."
The stone-putting judge, Patricia Carrington, describes the event as one of support and fun.
"This is a unique sport where you have competitors who give tips on how to get better," said Carrington, who has been competing for 11 years in the women's events. "It's one of the most supportive events I've ever seen."
Next year, the event's management will pass from the Kerr County Celtic Association to the Hill Country Arts Foundation, and Derosseau said that would help scale the event in the years to come.
"These games would be here even without the festival," said Derosseau, adding he was pleased with the turnout on Saturday afternoon.
Last year's event was canceled due to the coronavirus pandemic, and Saturday's event was one of the biggest in the festival's history.
"It's good to see the festivals coming back," said Carrington, who drove in from Austin to judge and compete.
PETERSON MIDDLE SCHOOL DEDICATED
In the cavernous main hall of the new $60 million Hal Peterson Middle School, seventh-graders Cooper Jaimes and Joseph Diaz appreciated the state-of-the-art school, but their hearts belonged outside.
"You know the favorite part of the campus is the football field," said Jaimes, who plays running back. "It's really nice — the turf is soft. It's definitely better than the old middle school, and it's better than Tivy."
Diaz was in complete agreement.
"Like he said, the football field," Diaz said in response to the question about his favorite part. "I love football."
Maybe not exactly what Kerrville Independent School District officials may have wanted to hear, but it's clear they built something everyone can appreciate. On Sunday, the district officially dedicated its sprawling middle school campus that towers over Loop 534 — looking down on its across-the-street neighbor — Tivy High School.
Superintendent Mark Foust said a pair of committees determined the vision for the new campus and demonstrated a long-term commitment to education in Kerrville.
"This was a community effort for our kids," Foust told the audience of more than 100 people, including the district's board of trustees and members of the Kerrville City Council. "And we know that this is going to be an incredible learning environment and extremely flexible learning environment that should be able to shift and build with what education transitions into over the next 30, 40 or 50 years."
There were questions about the campus design, including glass walls in classrooms, but the students liked the open campus concept. It's also a study in security. Halls can be locked down in an instant; cameras are everywhere; access points are well controlled. This is a campus built during the coronavirus pandemic, but one in the age of school shootings.
However, the security is subtle — as it should be. It's the emphasis on learning that seems to be the big win here.
They said 'we are just so much more relaxed here because it's so open and we can see everyone," Peterson Middle School Tana Althaus said. "We don't feel like we're caught in the little classroom. We just relax and it's easier to learn. You all have given us a school for the future."
Peterson Middle School Principal Tana Althaus.
Kerrville Independent School District Mark Foust thanks Peterson Middle School student Anthony Sanchez for his remarks at the dedication of the middle school.
STAT OF THE WEEK: 14
That's the number of freshman players on Ingram Tom Moore High School's football team — the varsity football team. The two notable freshmen are quarterback Aiden Rendon and running back Kye Hightower. Rendon threw six passes to Hightower for 91 yards, including a 17-yard touchdown pass. Rendon was a solid 12-of-24 passing with two touchdowns, an interception and 270 yards. The future may be bright for the Warriors with the class of 2025.
SOMETIMES YOU CAN'T PLAN FOR THINGS
Despite the best intentions of community planning, you can't always determine every other scenario, and that's precisely a problem Kerrville's planning and zoning commission wrestled with last week.
The issue is an unexpected problem with the sign ordinance for a new restaurant set to go into a space in front of Hobby Lobby. When it comes to monument signs, Kerrville's rules allow for one per property, but consider the following:
- Hobby Lobby ended up purchasing the land where its store sits.
- Initially, the property along Sidney Baker Highway, near Interstate 10 and Loop 534, was one piece — so one sign.
- That sign featured the only tenants — Starbucks and the Hobby Lobby. Since, it was a monument sign, the two main businesses consumed all of the room available. A monument sign can only be 32-square feet.
- The sign was on the southern piece of the property, and when Starbucks opened, motorists could turn left into the parking lot from Sidney Baker. However, the Texas Department of Transportation squashed that idea by blocking left-hand turns.
- That makes getting into Starbucks a bit tricky as well.
So, for the new Qdoba restaurant — a Mexican-inspired restaurant chain — that makes discovering their restaurant challenging to find for motorists who may be exiting Interstate 10. Melissa Southern, who owns the Qdoba franchise, and Kerrville's Rails restaurant, asked the city to consider a variance that would allow a second sign promoting the business. The city staff is studying the issue and expects to recommend a solution to the planning and zoning commission.
And, oh, by the way, the current monument sign has been damaged by an errant vehicle. So, there's that. More on that later.