It's Friday! We made it!
We are on the eve of another busy weekend. If there's one thing to appreciate this weekend, it will be the weather. The National Weather Service is forecasting a weekend with highs in the 70s and lows in the 50s — spectacular.
THINGS ON TAP
- We finish the week on The Lead Live at 9 a.m. today with a jam-packed show featuring Tome O'Hern and a whole crew of people to discuss an upcoming fundraising event that will support the Kerr County Sheriff's Office. "Our goal is to help any way we can," said Tome O'Hern, the foundation's treasurer. The first fundraising effort is from 6-8 p.m., Nov. 9 at Arcadia Live, 717 Water St. According to the foundation, the priority will provide Leitha with the tools needed for the special response team — a force within the Sheriff's Office to handle critical situations. Jacqueline Gerasmidis will join the show to discuss her journey to Texas.
- The Kerr Economic Development Corp. will hand out its "Top Forty" awards tonight to 40 business influencers from around the Hill Country. The event starts at 6 p.m. at Arcadia Live. We'll have complete coverage of the awards in Saturday's newsletter.
- Another reminder that the Kerr Arts and Cultural Center welcomes the return of one of its most popular shows — the Texas Furniture Makers' Show. The center opens at 10 a.m. Visit: https://www.kacckerrville.com/
- We got a message from Buck Wild Animal Rescue in Ingram about their need for donations. The rescue helps injured animals and is 100% donor-supported — there are no employees. Want more information? Check out their website: https://buckwildrescue.org/
- We are now 15 days out from the Kerrville Lighted Christmas Parade downtown.
- "Little Shop of Horrors," the latest mega-production from the folks at Playhouse 2000 is in its final weekend at the Cailloux Theater. Tonight's show is at 7:30 p.m. Tickets start at $15. There is a 7:30 p.m. performance on Saturday and a 2:30 p.m. matinee on Sunday. Want to buy tickets? Here you go: https://ci.ovationtix.com/35642/pr/1035816/pe/10604159
Need something to do? There's a ton of live music tonight:
- At Pint and Plow, Boone Holding, 6-8 p.m.
- Cafe at the Ridge, Aaron Holcombe, 6 p.m. LaCombe is an Austin-based Americana singer and songwriter.
- Hunt Store, Jamie Hawkins, 6 p.m.
- Southern Sky Cafe, John Arthur Martinez, 6:30 p.m.
WHAT'S DRIVING THE NEWS
BASKETBALL SEASON KICKS OFF TODAY
Schreiner University senior guard Alex Dehoyos returns for the Mountaineers.
The Schreiner University men's and women's basketball teams begin their season today with games against visiting McMurry University. The men are at 4 p.m., while the women will tip at 6 p.m.
After a COVID-19 disrupted season in 2021, both teams are looking for a fresh start this season. That start comes with new coach Stacy Stephens, who takes over for Samantha Davidson for the women. Stephens brings a huge resume, playing for the University of Texas. Stephens was an All-American and helped the Longhorns reach the Final Four in 2003, where Texas lost 71-69 to eventual champions Connecticut. Stephens has also coached at the Division I level, including in a supporting role at Colorado State.
The Mountaineers lost standouts Sidney Williams, who graduated, and Zahra Cross, who followed Davidson to Division II Converse College in South Carolina. However, there's still plenty of talent on the roster.
Stephens is going to rely heavily on seniors Josline Hernandez, Gabby Ivarra and Miranda Vallejo. All three have averaged about seven points per game for their career, but they will take on more shooting responsibilities this year. Hernandez is a skilled three-point shooter and won the overall competition against the Schreiner men.
Schreiner's women will depend upon the hard-nosed play of senior Gabby Ivarra.
While Davidson built most of the team before she left, Stephens is taking what's she inherited and adding her stamp — an uptempo, pressing style of basketball.
"There's going to be a lot of turnovers initially," Stephens said.
For men's coach Marway Elrakawaby, now in his third season, he's got size and the savvy of senior guard Alex Dehoyos — who averages 10.9 points per game for his career. The Mountaineers will also get minutes from junior forward Bronson Evans, who averaged eight points per game in the nine-game 2021 season.
One of the ones to watch will be 6-4 junior transfer Darian Gibson, moving from Division II Texas A&M-International to Kerrville. Elrakawaby calls Gibson a dynamic player who will bolster the Mountaineer's offense.
On Saturday, the Mountaineers return to action for a "pack-the-gym" day with a 2 p.m. matchup for the men against Hardin-Simmons and a 4 p.m. game for the women.
SHERIFF'S OFFICE DISRUPT ALLEGED HUMAN SMUGGLING OPERATION
A tip about a human smuggling operation led to a high-speed chase and the arrest of three men near Boerne on Tuesday night.
In a news release, the Kerr County Sheriff's Office said it received information that six vehicles were traveling from the Mexico border through Kerr County in an alleged human-smuggling operation to bring immigrants into the country. A Sheriff's deputy intercepted four of the vehicles. During the pursuit, the suspects tried to run the deputy off the road.
The Sheriff's Office said the suspects used various evasive tactics to throw the deputies off the pursuit. One of the vehicles was able to exit in Comfort, and the suspects fled from the vehicle without being apprehended. After passing into Kendall County, the Boerne Police Department stopped two cars, where police arrested three men.
"This convoy of vehicles engaged in human smuggling activities is a new
level of aggression from those breaking our immigration laws," Kerr County Sheriff Larry Leitha said.
The three men arrested are being held on charges ranging from human smuggling, drug possession and assault with a deadly weapon. All three are in Kerr County Jail.
The release did not say if any of the vehicles were transporting immigrants.
ANOTHER COVID-19 DEATH EMERGES
The Texas Department of State Health Services acknowledged Kerr County's 11th death related to COVID-19 in October — nearly a month later.
On Thursday, DSHS updated its COVID-19 fatality spreadsheet to show a Kerr County resident died on Oct. 6 — the 10th death reported by DSHS. The Lead's tally is 11 because it remains unclear if DSHS counts the deaths at Peterson Regional Medical Center.
Here's a link to our earlier story: https://kerrcountylead.com/433834841420852
UPDATING THE COVID-19 FATALITIES
During a search of records from the Texas Health and Human Services Commission, The Lead uncovered three previously unreported deaths at River Point of Kerrville — an assisted living facility along Bandera Highway. The deaths happened between Jan. 15-18, July 13-16 and on Aug. 25. All told, four people have died at the facility since January. It remains unclear if Texas HHS numbers correlate with the numbers kept by the Texas Department of State Health Services. In most cases, they have not, and these deaths came when multiple deaths occurred per day in Kerr County. At least 46 people in Kerr County's nursing homes, assisted living facilities, state hospital and Veteran's Affairs hospital have died from COVID-19 since the start of the pandemic.