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The Lead Aug. 12, 2022: Kerrville appears headed to Stage 1 water conservation; other parts of Kerr County feel drought

Center Point neighborhood is still without regular water service after wells fail.

Good morning, Kerr County!

Some of us got a brief downpour of rain — brief. The National Weather Service is standing by its forecast that it may rain today and Saturday. The folks over at The Weather Channel and Weather Underground aren't so sure. Anyway, it's August — it's hot and humid. Anything goes.

On today's The Lead Live!

We'll talk with the team from Blue Anchor Marketing, Jon Pratt and Adam Edwards, about their new venture. We will get an update on the economy from Andrew Gay of Texas Hill Country Advisors. Julie Davis is storming onto the show to provide us an update on the weekend events. She's also bringing her three-year-old grandson, Emmerson, with her. This will be a fantastic show.

Today's newsletter is sponsored by

Check out the Texas Hill Country Podcast with our good friend Tom Fox. This week, Tom chats with Andrew Gay and Gilbert Paiz, our other good friends from Texas Hill Country Advisors! Listen here:


Stage 1 water conservation could be here next week

There is growing concern about the water supply and what appears to be an alarming situation with the Guadalupe River. On Thursday, the city of Kerrville issued a statement urging water conservation.

However, the press release sent by the city sort of buried the news.

"Going forward, the continued lack of rain and its negative impact on the flow of the Guadalupe River has increased the potential for a move to Stage 1 water restrictions, which could happen as early as next week," the city said.

The Guadalupe is running about seven times its median discharge of about 50 cubic feet per second for August. Yes, this year, it's running about 7 cubic feet per second, and in certain parts of the river, especially Center Point, it's running even lower — less than 3 feet.

"The city's adopted policy for moving into Stage 1 conservation measures is derived by dividing the community's total water demand by the Water System's Safe Operating Capacity (SOC, or the amount of drinking water that the city can safely produce)," the city said. "When the seven-day average of demand meets or exceeds 65% of SOC, the city will implement Stage 1 water restrictions. Currently, the seven-day average is in the high fifties and rising. Please continue to conserve and reduce personal water demand."

The issue has alarmed many. Emails have bombarded city officials about the water, especially along the river. Until Thursday, city officials have frequently said the city has the water to endure a severe drought — that drought is already here.

"As stated before, the City of Kerrville thanks all of our citizens for their diligent water conservation efforts this summer, and past City Councils and staff for their forethought in approving proactive water supply projects like the Reuse Water system, the Aquifer Storage and Recovery (ASR) system, and the recent Loop 534 Ellenberger Well," the city said. "Those projects have considerably softened the impact of the current drought on the Kerrville community's water supply."

Here's the flow graph from the Guadalupe River through Kerrville, according to the U.S. Geological Survey, which monitors river flow across the country.

A deeper dive into Center Point neighborhood's water issue

The owner of a small Center Point water system said he's slowly pumping water into a well that is supposed to serve 90 residences at the end of Skyline Drive.

Gary Boothby, owns the Hill River Water Co., and he told The Lead on Thursday that two of his wells collapsed. Boothby said one of the wells was beginning to produce again — but slowly. The water has been out since Aug. 6.

"It's about 5 gallons per minute," said Boothby, distributing donated bottled water to residents in this small subdivision. "I was able to turn the water on for four hours this morning."

Boothby, however, is under intense scrutiny from the residents and the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality, which regulates water.

This is the Hill River Water Co. in Center Point.

"Maybe the owner of the water company can provide for all since the company should be liable for the whole neighborhood having no water," wrote Claudia Valadez in a Facebook message group. "Sorry if that offends anyone, but I feel like the water company is a business and should take full responsibility for having no water."

The water has been out for most of the week, and Boothby said he can pump about 7,000 gallons daily. However, the situation is not tenable long-term, Boothby said. The Boothby family created the Facebook group to communicate with residents.

The wells collapsed, according to Boothby, at 380 feet, where a sand bar separates the layer of water and rock. Both wells are 420 feet deep, and Boothby speculates the sand layer dried out, leading to the collapse. Boothby's small company will now spend $250,000 to dig a deeper well to supply his customers.

"The TCEQ has all been in here and helping," Boothby said. "We're regulated."

However, the neighborhood is full of water containers, which some homeowners purchased. There's a boil water notice in front of the subdivision, which doesn't have paved roads.

The Salvation Army, The American Red Cross and the Center Point Independent School District have been some of the agencies to assist. Kerr County Sheriff Larry Leitha said his office is monitoring the situation but made it clear it's a civil matter.

Boothby was skeptical of The Lead's presence on Thursday.

"You sound like a lawyer," he asked as we interviewed him about the water situation.

Boothby said he initially believed that the wells ran dry due to recent development in Center Point, but he admitted he was wrong about that. He then posited the theory that the drought helped dry out the sand barrier, leading to the collapse. There are numerous examples of that happening during prolonged drought, but some experts, including Texas A&M University, always advise having large tanks to store water in case of a collapse.

As for Boothby and his company, he will dig a new well, following the TCEQ guidelines, but he said it might be a slow process.

Fourth COVID-19 death in July reported

The Texas Department of State Health Services reported Kerr County's fourth COVID-19 death in July, with a fatality reported on July 31. More than 200 people have died from the virus since 2020.

During the COVID-19 outbreak, July was relatively quiet, but three deaths were reported in the month's final week — equaling the July 2020 death toll.

For those with persistent COVID-19 positive test results, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued new guidance that those testing positive can return with a mask after five days. For some, there have been days of testing positive for the virus.

"Some of the changes were expected and are sensible," wrote Dr. Jeremy Faust, a noted emergency room physician from Harvard University's Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston. "For example, requiring quarantine for people merely exposed to Covid-19 no longer makes sense. Sunsetting the previous quarantine protocols is justified. Exposures are too frequent for routine quarantine to be workable. Instead, people with high-risk exposures are now told to wear masks when indoors and to take a Covid test at least 5 days after an exposure, regardless of vaccination status. This acknowledges where the science is and what the public can be reasonably asked to do."

Hometown heroes make their birthday gifts a lesson in charity

Lillie Mohnke and Hadley Martin skipped their birthday presents and collected dog and cat food for Kerrville Pets Alive!

It takes a lot for a pair of seven-year-olds to forego birthday presents from friends, but that's exactly what Hadley Martin and Lillie Mohnke did.

Instead of collecting gifts, the soon-to-be first graders at Starkey Elementary School, had their friends bring dog and cat food so they could donate it to Kerrville Pets Alive!

The girls brought their cache of goods to the Kerrville Pets Alive office on Thursday.

"We wanted dogs and cats have food," said Lillie Mohnke, who has two dogs and a cat named Patrick. Hadley Martin has a dog named Peter.

While the two were short on commentary in the face of being interviewed by a grizzled grandpa journalist, their gift was most appreciated.

Keeping drunk drivers at bay earns KPD officers awards

From left, Assistant Chief Curtis Thomason, Sergeant Ed Holloway, Officer Tyler Cottonware, Officer Ruben Valencia, Officer Jonathan Collier and Chief Chris McCall.

Six Kerrville police officers received honors from the Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) and the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) for reducing drunk driving.

The Kerrville Police Department said the officer earned their awards during a San Antonio luncheon on Wednesday. Each year TxDot and MADD recognize officers from the South Texas region who have made significant contributions to the field of DWI enforcement.

"I am truly proud of these officer's efforts to remove these dangerous drivers from Kerrville's roadways to keep our citizens safe," said Kerrville Police Chief Chris McCall. "As we are reminded daily in our work, it takes a community to stop a drunk driver. KPD is committed to DWI reduction through strong enforcement."

The Commitment Hero Award was presented to Officer Ruben Valencia, Officer Daniel Virdell, Officer Jonathan Collier, Officer Jeff Robitaille and Officer Tyler Cottonware, who led the Kerrville Police Department in DWI enforcement efforts.

The Outstanding Service Award was presented to Sgt. Ed Holloway for outstanding dedication and commitment to DWI enforcement and education.

The Enforcement Hero Award was presented to Officer Tyler Cottonware for exemplifying an outstanding commitment to DWI education and enforcement in the Kerrville Police Department.

The Kerrville Police Department earned the Outstanding Agency Award for its enforcement efforts and dedication to public safety through DWI reduction efforts. Other agencies who received this award were the Bexar County Sheriff's Office, Castle Hills Police Department, San Antonio Police Department, and the Texas Department of Public Safety.

The Kerrville Police Department encourages you to designate a sober driver in advance if you choose to drink.

A chamber for your well being

Fresh and Fit owner Wende Jones checks in on one of her clients who was relaxing in a hyperbaric chamber on Thursday at Jones's Kerrville fitness studio.

When it comes to working out, recovery is an often overlooked part of any routine, and longtime Kerr County fitness expert Wende Jones wants to correct that.

Jones' Fresh and Fit offers a sauna, massage chairs, and a hyperbaric chamber at her Kerrville-based fitness studio. Yes, you read that right — hyperbaric chamber.

The Mayo Clinic describes a hyperbaric chamber this way: "In a hyperbaric oxygen therapy chamber, the air pressure is increased two to three times higher than normal air pressure. Under these conditions, your lungs can gather much more oxygen than would be possible breathing pure oxygen at normal air pressure."

In short, Jones wanted something that differentiated her studio from others.

"It's about getting all the inflammation out of the body," Jones said. "For people who work out really hard, who do a lot oxygenated stress, it's about muscle recovery."

It's also a relaxing place to nap. Jones is the first to admit that.

Jones's approach to fitness is holistic, meaning she wants to discuss every facet of your lifestyle, including your diet and exercise preferences to what ails you. She's not a doctor, but she follows a discipline called biohacking — meaning you have control over your body.

"For me, it's about brain health because I don't want to get Alzheimer's," she said. "The purpose is kind of different for each person. I have a guy who has had horrible long COVID for two years, and he's done 20 sessions so far and he's a new man."

Jones is careful to caution that it may not be for everyone and not to promise results, but she's also seen plenty of anecdotal benefits.

"I feel like it's something that's been used for years," Jones said of the chamber's benefits. Jones's own belief is that the chamber helps improve her mental acuity.

The chamber itself would seem familiar to anyone because it's a long capsule, but this is an inflatable version. The chamber is 93% pure oxygen and the sessions allow the user to nap, read, or play Words with Friends. Hospital-grade chambers are hardened and often reserved for critically-ill patients, including burn victims.

The history of pressurized chambers dates to 1662, and the technology gained momentum in the early 19th century. However, in 1918, as the U.S. grappled with the Spanish Flu outbreak, doctors began using pressurized rooms to treat patients suffering from the worst of the flu. In the 1960s, the treatments gained notoriety when President John F. Kennedy's infant son, Patrick, was treated in a chamber in a desperate attempt to save the child's life. Patrick Kennedy died, but hyperbaric treatment is now a regular therapy in neonatal intensive care units across the country for infants with respiratory distress.

The treatments start at $120 per session, but Jones offers various packages for those interested.

Schreiner University named a top nursing school

A nursing website named Schreiner University's program as one of the best in Texas — in fact, it's a top 10 program. Only Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing or Commission for Collegiate Nursing Education accredited schools were eligible for consideration.

The panel-reviewed selection featured several factors, including the nursing program's reputation, the National Council of State Boards of Nursing exam pass rate, cost of tuition and acceptance rate.

"To become a nurse in Texas, the best course of action is to earn a nursing degree from a local school," said Angelina Walker, director of nursing content and social media at "Earning a degree from an accredited Texas school will satisfy any prerequisites you'll need to become a registered nurse in the Lone Star State. But not all nursing schools are the same, and you'll want to pick the right school for you. That's why we've rounded up the best nursing schools in Texas to help you decide."

The Schreiner University BSN Program boasts a 100% NCLEX pass rate for 2019, 2020, 2021, and 2022. Schreiner University had the highest NCLEX pass rate on the list, and nursing students have good job placement after earning their degree from Schreiner. The U.S. Bureau of Labor and Statistics ranks Texas with the country's second highest registered nurse employment.

Plan your weekend with The Lead and the Kerrville Convention and Visitors Bureau

Today's stuff to do!

  • Kerr Arts and Cultural Center Art Exhibits — Kerr Arts Cultural Center, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Information: 830-895-2911 The details: Through Aug. 13, three different art exhibits. Paintings by LaRue, "Kerrville Fiber Artists," Fiber art show by local artists, "Hometown Crafts Teacher's Show," an exhibition featuring the work of local teachers, sponsored by Hometown Crafts and Gifts.
  • Luckenbach Legacy, Hondo's Daughter, Becky Crouch Patterson Exhibition — Museum of Western Art, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Information: The details: Becky Crouch Patterson, a fifth-generation Texan whose father was the legendary developer of historic tiny-town Luckenbach, made famous by Waylon Jennings's classic song, "Let's Go to Luckenbach, Texas (Back to the Basics of Love." This is Patterson's original art, described as a marriage of Texas Folk Art and Fine Art, plus textiles, memorabilia and works from her life. In addition to her work, Hondo and Luckenbach artifacts fill three cases.

Science and Nature

  • 1-on-1 with a naturalist — Riverside Nature Center, 10 a.m. Information: The details: Naturalist, author, and columnist Jim Stanley and Texas Master Naturalist and native plant enthusiast John Hucksteadt will be available to meet one-on-one to answer questions, and discuss various topics, or listen to ideas about nature.


  • Learn to Belly Dance — Kerr Arts and Cultural Center, 6 p.m. Information: The Cheeky Peacocks Dance Company The details: Bring a yoga mat, a bottle of water and a friend! The class is $10.

Markets and sales

  • Heart of the Hills Farmers Market — River Hills Mall parking lot, 8 a.m. Information: 830-370-7476

The Arts

  • Hill Country Arts Foundation Member's Show — Hill Country Arts Foundation, Ingram, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., Information: The details: Featuring art by HCAF member artists.

Live music

  • Allora Leonard — Cafe at the Ridge, 6 p.m. Information:
  • Jimmie Lee Jones — Southern Sky Music Cafe, 7 p.m. Information: 830-367-2735
  • Carlos and Dan and The Silver Bullets — Arcadia Live, 7 p.m. Information: The details: This is the first of the "Happy After Hour Acoustic Sessions" on Arcadia's back deck. It should be a marvelous night of music with a stunning sunset view overlooking the Guadalupe River.
  • Rick Reyna — Pier 27 River Lounge and Pizzeria, 8 p.m. Information: 830-896-7437
  • Mark 2 — Joanne Marie and Me Wine Boutique, 6 p.m. Information:


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