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The Lead Oct. 16, 2021: New and notes for Saturday

Peterson Health reports it's first COVID-19 death in nearly a month; We find a bit of Texas treasure in historic Boston, including an ode to a gas station


We are still on vacation, but there's plenty of news to report this morning! Since we're on East Coast time, we're not tracking football scores. We spent the day in Boston and found some fun Texas connections. However, we've got news to report today.


Peterson Regional Medical Center confirmed one of its patients died Thursday from COVID-19 — the second virus-related death in October. It was Peterson's first death since Sept. 16.

On Friday, Peterson reported nine new cases — none vaccinated. The hospital still had 15 patients admitted, with three in the intensive care unit. Across Texas, the number of cases continued to decline, but another 200 new deaths were reported.

This marks the 42nd death, a tally compiled by The Lead, since Aug. 1. It also demonstrates the disconnect between Peterson's reporting and the numbers reported by the Texas Department of State Health Services, which did not report the death on its dashboard. There does not appear to be corroboration between DSHS and Peterson in death toll since at least the first two weeks of December 2020.


The fight over Texas' abortion law heated up on Friday — again — when the U.S. Department of Justice will ask the Supreme Court to immediately weigh in on the matter after setbacks in the lower courts. The Supreme Court, of course, already issued an opinion earlier this year that let the implementation of the controversial law stand — for the time being. How the Court may decide is subject to ferocious speculation. Here's a deeper dive into the story:


Texas moved one step closer to banning transgender athletes from competing in girls' or boys' sports sanctioned by the state's University Interscholastic League. The law, which was sent back to the House from the Senate on Friday, bans those from competing in a girls' sport if they were born as a boy. How many students this will impact is unclear, but it's unlikely many. Here's the Texas Tribune's report on the matter:


As we mentioned, we're exploring New England this weekend, but on Friday, we were stopped in our tracks by something we didn't expect aboard the U.S.S. Constitution — a Buc-ee's tumbler.

A bit of Texas in Boston thanks to a U.S. Navy sailor from Houston.

Yes, the iconic Texas gas station, with the glorious bathrooms, was on full display aboard the nation's oldest serving active duty warship — Old Ironsides. One of the original six frigates commissioned by the fledgling nation, the famed ship is still a working ship — more of an ambassador than a warship. The ship was launched in 1797 and earned fame in the War of 1812. Today it's anchored in Boston. When we were touring the ship, we came across the distinctive red aluminum cup — known for keeping drinks cool and warm. The tumbler belongs to sailor Zach Hansenmcphail, one of the Navy crew aboard the ship. Hansenmcphail told us he's lived all over Texas, including in Marble Falls, but he now considers Houston his hometown. The one thing he can't live without — his Buc-ee's tumbler. Like his colleagues, Hansenmcphail is an expert on the ship's history and is bombarded with questions by the thousands of people who visit the ship daily. So, thanks for your service.

The U.S.S. Constitution.

Later in the day, we visited Brattle Book Store — a magnificent three-story used and antique book store. It made us even more irritated that we didn't mount a more serious effort to save Wolfmueller's Books from closing, but that's another story. As we wandered through the stacks, we came across the massive "Big Wonderful Thing," author Stephen Harrigan's masterful one-volume history of Texas. It's a terrific read, and it was appropriately situated on the top shelf and right in the center.


One of the significant future projects Kerr County is considering is building a new animal shelter — replacing one Kerr County Judge Rob Kelly has described as "inhumane."

Kelly toured the animal shelter in Atascosa County with Kerrville Pets Alive President Karen Guerriero, KPA member and Kerrville City Councilwoman Brenda Hughes and architect Peter Lewis, expected to design the new Kerr County facility.

The tour's purpose was simple — show Kelly what was possible.

The Atascosa County shelter is a large metal building that opens up to the outside. It's easy to manage and clean. It also has ample capacity — something the current Kerr County facility does not.

Kelly has led an aggressive research project about the county's needs ahead of placing three general obligation bonds on the 2022 general election.

Kerr County Judge Rob Kelly getting a tour of the Atascosa County animal shelter. (Photo courtesy of Karen Guerriero/Kerrville Pets Alive)


This weekend is going to be a remarkable one when it comes to stuff to do. We mean it. There's a lot to do. First off, you're going to have to check out the Kerrville Chalk Festival, but here's a rundown of everything you need to check out:

Kerrville Chalk Festival

  • 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Saturday; 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Sunday. Peterson Plaza at Kerrville City Hall.
  • Kerrville Chalk Festival is a family-oriented event for the entire Texas Hill Country Community. The festival is held on Peterson Plaza in the heart of Kerrville to raise funds for non-profit organizations. Kid's chalk zone, face painting, balloon art, great food, live music, and free fun for the entire family.

Notre Dame Catholic School Fall Festival

  • 3-7 p.m. Saturday; Noon-6 p.m. Sunday, Notre Dame Catholic School, 900 Main St.
  • Help the Notre Dame Catholic Church community celebrate its 109th year at its annual festival. There are two days of game and prize booths, children's activities, bingo, food booths, musical performances, a delicious bake sale, cake wheel, and silent and live auctions. Information: 830-257-6707

Kerrville Craft Beer Run

  • 8 a.m., Louise Hays Park, Kerrville.
  • This timed out-and-back 5-kilometer run will be in Louise Hays Park and entirely on the Kerrville River Trail. Entrants receive T-shirts, snacks and awards. There will be plenty of local beer from Basement Brewers of Texas and Pint and Plow Brewing Co. All proceeds are given to plant native trees within the city of Kerrville parks system. Information:

Kerrville River Festival

  • Noon-9:30 p.m., Louise Hays Park, Kerrville
  • The headliner for the 2021 Kerrville River Festival concert is country music star Jerrod Niemann. Texas' own Austin Meade will also be performing and Willow City and the Ryan Ross band. This year's annual festival will feature an array of family activities, community exhibitors, and major entertainment capped off by a fireworks display at 9:30 p.m. The concert portion of the event will feature four different artists, a circus thrill show, and mini-performances by local organizations. Information:

Here's a rundown of the bands set to perform:

  • 3:30 p.m. – Ryan Ross Band
  • 5 p.m. – Willow City
  • 6:30 p.m. – Austin Meade
  • 8 p.m. – Jerrod Niemann


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