Good morning, Kerr County!
The National Weather Service suggests the week ahead is one of potential storminess — emphasis on potential. After all, we've faced teasing chances of rain, only to fall off brokenhearted. This week's best chance comes on Thursday, with about a 40% chance of thunderstorms.
On today's The Lead Live!
Here come the financial guys — Gilbert Paiz and Andrew Gay! They're stopping by this morning to provide us with the latest in the markets. The Kerrville Convention and Visitors Bureau's Leslie Jones advances the week's activities for us, and who knows who will storm onto the show. Join us at 9 a.m.
Speaking of events! Here's something new
This week we're leading off with our TOP 5 events to experience. Are you ready? Here we go:
- Our Museum of Us: Curating Your Family's Stuff into a Digital Future — Upper Guadalupe River Authority, 2-4 p.m. Information: 830-896-5445 The details: a hands-on workshop with Dr. Mark Standley. Sometimes our stuff possesses us, as much as we keep it. We accumulate stuff throughout our lives in our' hills of enough'. We have stories about our things but don't always take the time to share them with others. During this workshop, participants will learn how to ask questions, curate stories and digitally record memories and items of value with their smartphones or other devices.
- Thirsty Thursday Trivia Night — Arcadia Live!, 5:45 p.m. Information: https://www.thearcadialive.org The details: Join the fun-filled crew at Arcadia Live for another trivia night and, perhaps, become the new reigning Trivia Champ Team! Beyond bragging rights, winning teams will be awarded gift cards to local restaurants.
- The Nerd — Hill Country Arts Foundation, 7:30 p.m. Information: https://www.hcaf.com The details: Willum Cubbert has often told his friends about the debt he owes to Rick Steadman, a fellow ex-GI whom he has never met but who saved his life after he was seriously wounded in Vietnam. He has written to Rick to say that, as long as he is alive, "you will have somebody on Earth who will do anything for you" —so Willum is delighted when Rick shows up unexpectedly at his apartment on the night of his thirty-fourth birthday party. But his delight soon fades as it becomes apparent that Rick is a hopeless "nerd" —a bumbling oaf with no social sense, little intelligence and less tact. And Rick stays on and on, his continued presence among Willum and his friends leading to one uproarious incident after another until the normally placid Willum finds himself contemplating violence—a dire development which, happily, is staved off by the surprising "twist" ending of the play.
- Juniper Djinn — Trailhead Beer Garden at Schreiner University, 7 p.m. Information: https://www.trailheadbeergarden.com The details: The intimate sounds of the great 30s and 40s Jazz era come to new life with Juniper Djinn.
- Bandera Shooters Mounted Shooting — Gravity Check Saloon and Arena, 10 a.m. Information: https://www.gravitychecksaloonandarena.com The details: Come on out for a great day of fun and excitement as you are entertained by the Bandera Shooters, members of the Cowboy Mounted Shooters of America
Here comes the bond!
The Kerr County Commissioner's Court could call for a bond election for the November general election with a vote today. The court is considering three bonds to pay for the following:
- Prop. A, a $13 million bond to pay unfunded mandates to the Kerr County Courthouse and replace the West Kerr Annex, a badly outdated and leased building. The bond would also fund courthouse safety and help move the tax office to a former church on Earl Garrett Street.
- Prop. B, an $8 million bond that would fund improvements to the indoor arena at the Hill Country Youth Event Center.
- Prop. C, a more than $5 million bond would replace the Kerr County Animal Services shelter with a state-of-the-art building to care for abandoned, surrendered or neglected animals.
The big question for the commissioner's court will be all about bond fatigue. These projects aren't fat. Arguably, they are the price of progress for the county. However, conservative political groups are already lining up to oppose the bonds. There's also the question if the court itself is enthusiastic about the bonds.
Our weekend in photos
It was another great weekend to capture the pulse of Kerrville and the Hill Country with three great events we were able to photograph:
One of the competitors at the Kerrville Kids Triathlon competes in the first leg — swimming.
The Kerrville Kids Triathlon brought together more than 100 children to swim, bike and run their way to glory in a test of endurance.
The volunteers from Kerrville's beauty school, BK Cosmo, provided hair cuts to those who needed it for back-to-school.
The Salvation Army's back-to-school bash was blazing hot, but proved to be yet another reason why the Ray and Joan Kroc Corps Community Center is indispensable to our community!
You want me to do what?
Finally, who doesn't love seeing dogs enjoying a cool dip in the Olympic Pool? This beloved event delivered with plenty of tails wagging, occasional accidents, and many smiles in the last event at the pool for the season.
The kids are back in school, safety is top of mind!
It's a pivotal day for many families across the Texas Hill Country this morning as their children head back to school. If anything, this figures for a year where several factors could impact children's education across Texas.
Texas is facing an unprecedented teacher shortage, including here in the Hill Country. Teachers are in short supply, and so are support personnel. Kerrville Independent School District has more than a dozen open positions.
Like many states, Texas is in the grip of cultural wars over education, rearing its head in Kerrville when conservative parents asked for books pulled from district libraries with LGBTQ or sex education themes. There's also a fierce debate about the future of social studies education, where a conservative backlash against the so-called "critical-race theory" has emerged. Critical-race theory suggests American legal institutions are historically shrouded in codified racism.
The COVID-19 pandemic remains a significant threat, or inconvenience, for school children. The latest round of coronavirus variants has proven to be incredibly infectious. Of course, there's the monkey pox.
Finally, the deaths of 19 children and two teachers at Uvalde's Robb Elementary School loom large for everyone. Kerrville Independent School District is working with the Kerrville Police Department to add two school resource offices to protect and serve the district's four elementary schools.
"I think safety for our community is one of the most important tasks that the city government has," Kerrville City Councilmember Roman Garcia said. "It's a responsibility we have to take care of."
The City Council is in the process of approving its 2022-2023 budget. During a budget workshop last week, the Council heartily endorsed the discussion about adding the resource officers.
On Saturday at the Salvation Army's Ray and Joan Kroc Corps Community Center, parents brought their children out for a last weekend of fun before heading back to the classroom. The parents The Lead spoke to are confident in KISD's ability to keep their children safe.
"Last year, when the stuff happened in Uvalde, I saw (the district) pick up on safety," said Kashma Joseph, who has six children, including four who attend KISD schools. "I saw the sheriff and police at the schools. So, I feel good about it."
Another parent, Liberty Lindley, the mother of three school-age children, said the lessons of Uvalde have to make the schools safer.
"I'm going to say that I feel very safe," said Lindley, adding that in the wake of other tragedies, there has always been a push toward lessons learned and improving the response.
Of course, Uvalde's response is proving to be a lesson that every school district and law enforcement agency in America will study in the years to come — in a sense, back to school for those who assess safety.
However, as children go back to class today, many of those problems may be the last thing they think about — instead, it will be about reading, writing and some mathematics.
Governor's race continues to look like Abbott is in control
Seeking a third term is never easy, but Texas Gov. Greg Abbott seems like he's in a good position to earn exactly that based on new polling showing the incumbent with a lead over Democrat challenger Beto O'Rourke.
The Dallas Morning News and the University of Texas, Tyler's poll found that 46% of registered voters would back Abbott, compared to just 39% for O'Rourke. It's a poll that has not statistically changed in months.
All of this comes as O'Rourke makes campaign stops across Texas, including one on Wednesday in Fredericksburg. It's not known when O'Rourke will make his way to Kerrville.
Things we wanted to clarify
As we worked our way through emails, theories and calls about the drought, we found a line of questioning about Kerrville budgeting that was problematic. The suggestion is that Kerrville is drawing a significant amount of its budget from water usage fees — that is not true.
While there's much to be concerned about with this current drought, Kerrville's water fees make up only 14% of the city's revenue and expenses — and those fees go right back into maintaining that system and its debt management. Remember, the City Council heard just last month that it has about a $200 million expense in the coming years into maintaining the water system. About $100 million could be paid by developers looking to connect to the system, but the rest is on the ratepayers and commercial customers.
There's also a fierce debate, one that we've seen and heard, about the state of the river and if Kerrville is obfuscating the river's flow. Here's another way to look at it: in 2011, the last big drought, Kerrville probably had a significant hand in drawing down the river's flow — because it was dumping fresh water onto irrigation projects (golf courses, etc.). Fast-forward to 2022, Kerrville serves its commercial irrigation clients, including its parks and facilities, with reclaimed water.
The other problem with that is that it may make city officials a little bit more complacent when it comes to the urgency of the water situation. However, the first of five stages of water conservation is likely headed our way this week.
Our last day to RSVP for our anniversary party
We wanted to remind you to consider joining us from 6-8 p.m. on Aug. 19 at Pint and Plow Brewing Co. for our first-anniversary party. There will be food and beverages, including some of Pint and Plow's best brews. We have had plenty to celebrate over the last year. We hope that you can attend.
Please consider RSVP your attendance so we can plan accordingly. All paid subscribers are invited to attend this event. Please RSVP here: https://forms.gle/L6R1xN44WPNrUK4i8
We are inching toward our goal!
Thanks to more donations, we are nearing our goal of earning a $6,000 match for a grant awarded to The Lead from the Google News Initiative and the Local Independent Online News group. We are using the money for three purposes:
- Building capacity for further business development.
- Expanding our offerings in the digital video studio.
- Acquiring a new content management system to replace our current Facebook-backed system.
If you'd like to make a pledge to help us grow: https://checkout.square.site/merchant/MLEWCF2K4ASZZ/checkout/YE5IHXVYW4GJ5HUOOKXJDI4E