The Lead April 1, 2022: We took a tour of Nimitz Lake — one of Kerrville's hidden gems

We also had a chance to chat with J.D. Andrew and Billy Bob Thornton about their band — The Boxmasters — which plays Kerrville on April 16.

Good morning, Kerr County!

We have made it through the worst of red-flag warnings — meaning high winds and dry conditions — for the Texas Hill Country, and humidity returns to the forecast. Whoever thought we'd appreciate some nice humid weather, but we're confident we'll take some moisture in the air after getting a taste of fire last week. The Texas A&M Forest Service is not taking any chances and has positioned firefighting resources across the state to battle any outbreak. Here's their tweet explaining this, including the use of federal wildland firefighters:

See @TXForestService's post on Twitter.

As far as the weekend goes, we will have a nice weekend with mostly clear conditions and temperatures reaching into the high 80s. We could see a thunderstorm pop up Monday, but that's the only threat of precipitation in the coming days. Here's the forecast:

It's April Fool's Day!

Here are some ideas courtesy of the Graham Norton Show.

On today's The Lead Live!

We head into the weekend with a big lineup for this morning's show, with Kerrville Public Utility Board's Mike Wittler and Allison Bueche providing an update about some of the latest programs. Century 21 The Hills Realty's John Sawyer will give us a preview of Saturday's Farm and Ranch Expo at Schreiner University. The expo is a free event with many speakers who will discuss everything from managing wildlife to managing water on a farm or ranch.


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Things to do today

  • Texas Vintage Motorcycle Fandango — Gillespie County Fairgrounds, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Information: The details: The event runs through Sunday. Friday's event includes a swap meet and a bike show.
  • Heaven's Declare Art Exhibition — Museum of Western Art, 10 a.m. Information: The details: Featuring works by renowned artists who celebrate the heavens. The exhibition will feature works by Phil Bob Borman, G. Russell Case, Tim Newton, Laurel Daniel, Linda Glover Gooch, David Griffin, David Grossman, Michael Magrin, Denise LaRue Mahlke, Phil Starke and John Taft.
  • College baseball — Schreiner University Bob Henry Field, 2 p.m. The details: The Mountaineers play host to Louisiana's Centenary University in the first of a crucial three-game Southern Collegiate Athletic Conference series.
  • Kerrville Farmers Market — A.C. Schreiner Mansion, 4 p.m. Information: The details: Come down and enjoy a complimentary beer, or buy a handcrafted pizza and enjoy the market.
  • First Friday Wine Share — Schreiner University, Cailloux Campus Activity Center, 6 p.m. Information: The details: A fun way to meet new or different wines, people and places of business. Please bring no more than one bottle of wine for every two people.
  • Live music by Nautical Nation — La Escondida 1962, 7 p.m. Information:
  • Live music by Jim Turner — Cafe at the Ridge, 6 p.m. Information:
  • Live music by Rain Thoresen — Pint and Plow Brewing, 6 p.m. Information: The details: Rain Thoresen is a singer-songwriter and adventure enthusiast from the Appalachian mountains. She wrote her first song right here in Texas and has been in love with the lone star state. Her music is girl-power Americana.
  • Live music by Max and Heather Stalling — Southern Sky Music Cafe, 6:30 p.m. Information:
  • Live music by Mark Odom — Pier 27 River Lounge and Pizzeria, 8 p.m. Information: 830-896-7437
  • Live music by Jesse Stratton Band — Hunt Store, 7 p.m. Information:
  • Live music by Old 97s — Arcadia Live!, 8:30 p.m. Information: The details: Since their formation 26 years ago, Old 97's have continued to prove themselves worth of being deemed a seminal group in alternative country music, and have even collaborated with some country icons such as Waylon Jennings.
  • Live music by Bill Mahko and friends — Joanne Marie and Me Wine Bistro, 6-9 p.m. Information:
  • Star Party — Schreiner University, The Loftis Family Science Center, 8:30 p.m. Information: 830-792-7249. The participants will be able 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.
  • "They Played A Rigged Game" — Hill Country Arts Foundation, Ingram, 7:30 p.m. Information: The details: This is a new play written by Kerr County playwright David R. Remschel. Michael Dysart has spent his autumn years at Windy Acres Retirement Center relishing his reputation, superiority over others, and the unquestioning loyalty of his fellow resident, Thomas. Michael's perfect utopia sours with the sudden appearance of new resident Alice Dewitt.

A threat at Tivy High School

A shooting threat scrawled onto a bathroom wall at Tivy High School led school officials to request assistance from the Kerrville Police Department as a precaution.

Tivy Principal Shelby Balser said they didn't believe it a credible threat, but a significant police presence was requested to ensure student and staff safety. In a 12:56 p.m. email to parents, Balser said they take every threat seriously and that the police department is investigating the threat.

By the end of the day, photos of the pencil-written note circulated Kerrville. The suspect wrote that they intended to target teachers, the office and two classroom wings and complained about the school.

"We are cooperating with the Kerrville Police Department to conduct a thorough investigation and to ensure our students and staff continue to be safe at Tivy High School," Balser said. "We have several additional officers on campus, currently investigating the source of the threat. Although we do not have any reason to believe it is a credible threat, we are taking every precaution and will have up to seven police officers and additional administrators on campus for the remainder of today.''

John Anderson's love of Nimitz Lake shines through

John Anderson is an advocate for expanded recreation on Nimitz Lake.

For the last three years, John Anderson has passionately argued that Nimitz Lake is Kerrville's great untapped recreational asset. Anderson's vision for the lake — a dammed portion of the Guadalupe River east of downtown — is a haven of sailing, rowing, kayaking, fishing and leisurely three-hour cruises.

So, on Thursday, The Lead Live dragged Anderson onto a boat and had him articulate the plan to a live audience. He's lowkey, but he's committed to bringing the right people together — public and private — to help determine the lake's future.

The boat is an electric-powered pontoon cruiser owned by Killdeer Mountain Manufacturing's Kristin Hedger — a prime example of the kind of craft that could utilize the lake.

Chatting with Hedger, Delayne Sigerman and Ashley Phillips, Anderson said his feelings about the lake formed during the Kerrville 2050 Plan — the city's blueprint for the future.

"I saw there was a goal of increasing recreational use," Anderson said. "I thought, yeah right on."

Water has played a significant role in Anderson's life — he is a Naval Academy graduate. However, he is forgoing the martial qualities of maritime use for something decidedly more fun.

"I saw a central theme (in the 2050 Plan) that the central role the Guadalupe River played in the Kerrville area, and its future," Anderson said.

Since January of 2019, Anderson organized "sea-trials" for the Sea Scouts (a unit of the Boy Scouts) to test the lake for sailing — turning back doubts that the lake could support small-boat sailing. The only thing Anderson says can't go on the lake are larger crew boats with multiple oars.

To demonstrate how bullish he is on the idea of water sports on the lake could be he made this bold prediction:

"We could produce an Olympic champion here," said Anderson, arguing that the right coaching and the conditions could produce a winner.

Heady conversation for sure, but one that Anderson has thought about — a lot. He's written a white paper on the lake's possible academic, athletic, and recreational activities.

There is already a movement to take advantage of the water on that stretch of the Guadalupe River. The Landing, an apartment complex and proposed mixed-use development, is emerging on the south side of the lake. It could open the door for others.

Until then, Anderson is one of Kerrville's most articulate champions of the river and the lake, and the community might be better off thanks to his work.

It's not about the movies; it's about the music

It would be easy to ask Billy Bob Thornton about several of his iconic movie roles, from "Slingblade" to the original slap in "Tombstone." While it's easy to typecast Thornton for his acting, his first work in front of an audience was with his music.

On April 16, Thornton and his band, The Boxmasters — a collaboration with his longtime friend J.D. Andrew — will play Arcadia Live! This is a makeup show from 2021, when COVID-19 finally caught up with the band.

And like a lot of musicians, The Boxmasters didn't sit around — they went to work.

"Well, we made three albums," Thornton said on a special Thursday afternoon episode of The Lead Live. "That's what we did. Um, we were out there. We had 43 shows and we got through 21 of them before the shutdown. I was actually right before we came to Texas when we got shut down. We just went to the studio and we made records."

That shutdown knocked out their Arcadia Live performance, but the band was committed to returning.

"It was probably the best tour we had," Andrew said. "The people were so ready for music."

Thornton and Andrew rehearsed in their North Hollywood, Calif. studio before hitting the road. The trip starts next week in Ardmore, Okla., winding its way south into Texas before their April 16 show in Kerrville. This first leg of their tour ends up in Flagstaff, Ariz., on April 19.

Kerrville is a familiar place for the band.

"We may have stopped at Cracker Barrel," Andrew said. And there was a trip to see Kinky Friedman.

But this will be their first time performing, and Thornton maps out what the audience can expect.

"Well, we're very much just a band who's influenced by the 60s and early 70s and you know, we write original music," Thornton said. "It's based on our own influences, you know. Uh, you know, lyrically, we go, you know, anywhere from political, social, to personal, and it's just a rock and roll band."

But they also present a swagger and style that is all their own — with Thornton as the frontman. And it's clear to Thornton; this isn't a side hustle — this is work. It's work they love. In the era of disruption, the tour is more important than ever.

"That's where you make your money is a tour, and you know, selling your merchandise and all that kind of thing," Thornton said.

If they had one wish for their Kerrville performance, it's to have Robert Earl Keen stop by.

"Well, if he's not busy that night, please tell him to come see us because I actually did some background vocals for him," Thornton said.

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