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The Lead April 25, 2022: The ARPA funding question for Kerr County expected to draw opposition

Once again, the Kerr County Commissioner's Court considers spending federal dollars to bolster public safety equipment, but expect opposition.

Good morning, Kerr County!

Better late than never! If everything goes according to the forecast, we could see about an inch of rain. Of course, the only cautionary component of this forecast is that it's a thunderstorm forecast — about a 90% chance today. However, it's clear we need the rain. Last week, the National Weather Service said Kerr County is in severe drought.

On today's The Lead Live!

With early voting starting today, we will host two conversations about upcoming bond measures. The first discussion will be with Steve Schulte and Valerie Grimes about Ingram Independent School District's $25 million general obligation bond that will play for significant upgrades to district facilities. The second discussion will happen when Mary Ellen Summerlin talks about Prop. A, the city of Kerrville's $45 million general obligation bond to pay for a 69,000-square-foot public safety building. Summerlin is a backer of the proposition, and she'll explain why she's supporting the initiative. Pam Umstead will discuss the Glory Community Garden, which hosts an event on May 15. We expect Billy Gene's Restaurant owner Crystal Smith to storm onto the show to discuss this weekend's car show to support Grace Academy. Joining Smith is Grace Academy Principal Shelly Flach to share the details of the car show and what's going on at the school.

On Tuesday's The Lead Live!

We already have a big show shaping up for Tuesday's episode of The Lead Live. The Point Theater's Daniel Kirkland discusses the newest production at the Ingram theater — "Two Drunk Habits." We're also looking forward to a visit from Dr. Everett Lamb, a magician and psychologist. Lamb is performing on Saturday night at Pint and Plow. Finally, Bruce Stracke will join us to discuss Prop. A.

Plan your day!

Public Meetings

  • Kerr County Commissioner's Court — Kerr County Courthouse, 9 a.m
  • Kerrville Independent School District board of trustees — Kerrville Independent School District offices, 6 p.m.

Early Voting

  • 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. — Cailloux Center for the Performing Arts and the Ingram Independent School District


  • Texas Water Symposium — Schreiner University, 6:30 p.m. Information: Hill Country Alliance, Texas Public Radio and Schreiner University The details: An interactive panel event spotlights the once-in-a-generation opportunity to revitalize water infrastructure, featuring experts and rural leaders excited to put these funds into action. Learn where communities can look for funds and the benefits of taking a One Water approach. Featuring: Hill Country Alliance, National Wildlife Federation, City of Bandera, Communities Unlimited, and more!

For more events: 34 things to do in Kerr County this week

Early voting starts today

The hot and bothered municipal elections, paired with two bond measures and a state constitutional question, get started today with early voting. Voters will go to the polls at the Cailloux Center for the Performing Arts and at the Ingram Independent School District Office. Voters will have from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. to cast their ballots today through Wednesday and from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Thursday. On Friday, the 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. voting hours return. There is no early voting on Saturday. Voting returns on May 2 and ends on May 3. Voters will decide City Council races in Kerrville and Ingram. This election also tests the appetite of voters to increase their tax burdens by voting for a $45 million bond in Kerrville to finance a public safety building and a $25 million bond in Ingram to upgrade schools.

Brace yourself, here comes an ARPA chat

Never short on drama, the Kerr County Commissioner's Court will have another discussion today about using federal COVID-19 relief funds to pay for a new radio system for the Sheriff's Office and volunteer fire departments. However, the American Rescue Plan Act has proven to be controversial for the court — derided by hardline conservatives as a tool of "enslavement."

However, Kerr County Judge Rob Kelly intends to limit the public discussion to 30 minutes. The county received $10 million in federal funding designed to upgrade and improve public facilities and safety in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic. Kelly has been candid in his determination to spend the money, especially when it comes to the badly needed communications system. The court met last week with representatives from Motorola and the Lower Guadalupe River Authority to determine the best fit for the county. The new radio system could cost more than $5 million.

The court meets at 9 a.m.

Fighting back against disinformation

Wild Birds Unlimited owner Kevin Pillow was fired up on Friday — and for a good reason. A firm believer in science, Pillow guested on The Lead Live to push back against an online rumor that bird feeders are the source of a burgeoning avian flu epidemic.

"We don't just sell birdseed; we love to bring you factual information," Pillow said. "If you ever have questions, you can contact us and ensure that the questions are correct and you answer properly."

At the heart of issue is online comments, usually spread through social media channels, about the bird flu and its impact on birds, but Pillow says those comments conflate the situation.

"A woman posted something on (social media) about removing bird feeders," said Pillow, adding that the posts suggested bird feeders were killing birds. "This kind of stuff, it's all over Texas. So, I got on with her and I asked her about it."

The woman, according to Pillow, said she had removed her post, but Pillow said it's this sort of misinformation that is damaging.

From the weekend

We made our way to several great events over the weekend, but none was bigger than Schreiner University's Recall and Homecoming event on Saturday. More than 1,000 people filled the lawn for Saturday night's Wade Bowen concert. Here's a look at our photo galleries from the weekend:

Best of the weekend from social media

Tivy High School held its prom on Saturday night and it was a massively shared event!


View more on Instagram.


View more on Instagram.
xoxo #prom


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More prom pics!


View more on Instagram.
#prom2022 #kerrvilletexas #tivyhighschool #promnight #mybeautifuldaughter #miajessie #beautifulgirls #texas #hillcount…


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