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The Lead April 27, 2022: It was an electrifying night for Kerrville citizens academy

The Kerrville Police Department shows off its tasers on two "willing" subjects.

Good morning, Kerr County!

We get another chance for rain today, but it's very hit and miss for the next few days. The National Weather Service's preliminary data from Monday's storm said less than an inch of rain fell in Kerrville — meaning we will finish well below the average for April. We may end April with less than an inch of precipitation for the fifth consecutive month. It's also likely this will be the warmest April since 2012 when the average daily temperature was 71 degrees. Our current mean temperature is 69.6. Here's a look at the rest of the week:

On today's The Lead Live!

We welcome back our friend Rachel Fitch to the show, and she'll give us a breakdown of the latest in her business — Fitch Estate Sales. Layng Guerriero will stop by to tell us about Prop. A — Kerrville's public safety complex bond initiative.

Today's newsletter is sponsored by:

People love the birds

This was one of our most popular posts on Facebook in months, and it keeps on growing. However, the real stars are the birds.

The Kerr County Lead
Apr 25, 2022 ·

We got an invite to see some Painted Buntings this morning. Of course, our friends at Wild Birds Unlimited were thrilled to see these guys.

Plan your day!

Early Voting

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


  • Friends of the Library Book Sale — Butt-Holdsworth Memorial Library, 1–3 p.m. Information: The details: Looking for a great read? Or better yet, come down and support the work of Friends of the Library. Maybe find a banned book? That sounds like a fun day to us.
  • Live music with Bernice Lewis — Trailhead Beer Garden at Schreiner University, 7-9 p.m. Information: The details: Bernice Lewis is a poet, writer, singer-songwriter, and educator. She has taught and performed all around the country and was a finalist at the Kerrville Folk Festival New Folk competition. She is known for her beautifully made song albums and presentation on her family's emigration from Nazi Germany.
  • Heaven's Declare Art Exhibition (Recurring through Saturday) — 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.
  • KACC Exhibits (Recurring through Saturday) — Kerr Arts and Cultural Center, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Information: The details: "Monday Painters" members of the Monday Artists painters group exhibit, Paintings by Laura Roberts, "Guadalupe Watercolor Group" judged watercolor exhibit by members of the GWG. Artist reception April 30th, 1–3 p.m.

Need more ideas on what to do this week?

Book banning runs into a federal court

Over in Llano, an attempt to remove books from the county library has run into seven residents who said no to the practice, and they did it in federal court. Here's the update:

Gov. Abbott cheers Musk's decision to buy Twitter

See @GregAbbott_TX's post on Twitter.

Early voting

The first day of municipal elections in Kerr County produced mixed results in terms of voter participation. In Kerrville's city election, determining three seats on the City Council and the fate of a $45 million bond measure, just 226 people cast their votes.

It's not far from the March 1 primary election turnout, which drew 279 voters — both Republicans and Democrats — on the first day of early voting. When it comes to other races, the level of interest may not be as intense — just 12 people cast votes on Monday in the Ingram election.

Here's a breakdown of other races based on Monday's turnout:

  • 64 — Kerrville Independent School District board of trustees election, trustee areas six and seven.
  • 40 — Ingram Independent School District board of trustees and general obligation election.
  • 12 — Ingram City Council election.
  • 226 — Kerrville City Council and general obligation bond.

Kerrville City Council

A technical issue prevented us from watching the Kerrville City Council meeting on Tuesday night, but we will have a full report later today.

Property tax increases

Property owners across Kerr County have been receiving their 2022 property tax assessment, and we're hearing there are some significant increases — thanks to rising valuations. Kerr County's 15% increase in valuation isn't nearly as large as other counties, but this is already one of the priciest communities in the state. The average price of a Texas home rose to more than $320,000 in the last year. While homestead exemptions cap that assessed raise at 10%, there could be many people feeling the pinch of assessments on other properties. Kerr Central Appraisal District said it was mailing letters to all property owners with a more than $1,000 increase in assessed value. In reality, that means all 27,000 property owners are getting a letter.

Citizen's Police Academy

The Lead has participated in the Kerrville Citizens Police Academy for the last few weeks, and the previous two weeks have been fascinating. On Tuesday night, the class of 18 saw a demonstration of one of the department's newest non-lethal weapons — the taser. Before Chief Chris McCall arrived in 2020, Kerrville had not used tasers, and it was one of the first devices the new chief put into use.

Most of Tuesday night's class was focused on the use of force and was taught by Sgt. Jack Lamb. When we think of the use of force, we tend to think about firearms, but Lamb explained it's a much broader definition. One of the great things about the class is that it challenges assumptions about police work and offers a critique of the good, the bad, and the ugly of techniques.

As we've mentioned previously, this is a three-hour class, and it sails by in no time. On April 19, the class watched a special response team exercise — complete with flashbangs. What we recognize as a special weapons and tactics team (SWAT), is being refined all of the time, and it's an interesting mix of de-escalation with the threat of extreme force. As the instructors said, they don't want to harm anyone — it's the opposite. A positive outcome is that there is a surrender. However, Kerrville's unit is always ready for a callout. The most significant example was after Melissa Villagrana was shot and killed in the Walmart parking lot in 2019. The shooter fled the scene and eventually killed himself in the Rio 10 movie theater after an hours-long standoff with police.

On Tuesday night, the class saw an example of the department's work to employ less deadly outcomes with its new taser — developed by Axon, which also makes body cameras. Two members of the class — Luke Skaines and Tinlee Sanchez — got to feel first-hand how it feels to get tased.


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