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The Lead Aug. 18, 2022: Schreiner University celebrates its 100th academic year with a huge first-year class

Also Democrat Beto O'Rourke was in Fredericksburg where he was met with enthusiasm from "both sides."

Good morning, Kerr County!

We've got rain (allegedly) in the forecast for today. The National Weather Service says there's a 60% chance of rain after 1 p.m. today and a 50% chance of thunderstorms later tonight. This unsettled pattern could continue through Friday. Let's hope for some big showers!

On today's The Lead Live!

We'll break down the latest news of the day, and Leslie Jones will join us from the Kerrville Convention and Visitors Bureau. Jones will give us an update on the week's activities.

Today's events

The Arts

  • 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.
  • 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.


  • Thirsty Thursday Trivia Night — Arcadia Live!, 5:45 p.m. Information: 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.

Coming Friday!

Friday, Aug. 19

Live music

Performing Arts

  • The Nerd — Hill Country Arts Foundation, 7:30 p.m. Information: 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.

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.

O'Rourke meets plenty of enthusiasm from both sides in Fredericksburg

Beto O'Rourke dove head first into one of the strongholds of Texas conservatism on Wednesday and was enthusiastically greeted by supporters and detractors.

So goes the state of American politics. In one vein, you had the "Mother Against Greg Abbott" group and on the other side of the street — one named for Lady Bird Johnson — the flag-waving Trump-loving MAGA crowd opposed to O'Rourke.

Counter protesters lined up across the street from Beto O'Rourke's rally on Wednesday in Fredericksburg.

Yes, O'Rourke was speaking in Fredericksburg and Gillespie County, where politics have become so coarse that the entire county election office resigned after repeated death threats and allegations of stalking.

It was a revelation that O'Rourke used during his speech in front of more than 500 enthusiastic supporters at the Pioneer Pavillion in Fredericksburg. For Democrats, O'Rourke represents the best chance to retake the governor's office since Ann Richards held it from 1990 through 1994.

Democrat Beto O'Rourke faces long odds in his effort to end 28 years of Republican control of the Texas governor's office.

However, the chance of O'Rourke defeating two-term incumbent Greg Abbott still faces long odds. Depending on the polling, O'Rourke trails about by seven percentage points. The Democrats are undeterred, even in deep red Kerr and Gillespie counties.

O'Rourke's speech hit the familiar tones of taking back education from its politicization, increasing teacher pay and benefits, and creating pathways for jobs and citizenship for those seeking entry into the United States. He pushed back against the language used by Abbott and Republicans, including invasion.

O'Rourke hammered Abbott for the 2021 power grid failures during a ferocious winter storm that paralyzed the state.

His biggest targets were inclusionary.

"We don't care how you pray, who you love or where you come from," O'Rourke told the audience, which featured many Kerr County residents.

O'Rourke's impassioned base cheered on his policy initiatives, including restricting AR-15 rifles to those 21 years old and over and instituting red-flag gun laws. The 21 lives lost at Uvalde's Robb Elementary School was a common theme.

However, across the street from the pavilion was an equally energized opposition.

"I've never seen so much trash in one building," screamed one man from a loudspeaker, which sounded like talk radio analysis but was an invective of troll-like behavior loaded with insults.

Waving a range of President Donald Trump flags, a variety of "F Joe Biden" flags and a really big Come and Take It Flag with a rifle on it, the opposition screamed at the O'Rourke supporters. There were attempts to distract O'Rourke's speech with sirens and loud music.

And when the Fredericksburg Police Department allowed the counterprotest to get within about 20 feet of the building, it produced at least one scuffle that resulted in one man being taken away in handcuffs.

"Lest we be annoyed or judge these Abbott people, let's have a little sympathy, their candidate never shows up to talk to them," O'Rourke told his cheering supporters.

At least one Abbott supporter was able to ask a question of O'Rourke but instead accused the Democrat of being a communist.

"Whew, I thought you were going to say socialist," O'Rourke said.

The Lead had two minutes with O'Rourke

In an impromptu press availability (They call these things a gaggle), The Lead asked two questions — one about property rights and the other about the rise of property taxes to pay for Texas' growth.

The property rights issue stems from our recent controversies over short-term rentals, one that is particularly present in Gillespie County, and how O'Rourke would handle it. Here's his circuitous response:

"There once was a party in Texas that believed in local control, and knew their neighborhoods and their citizens better than anyone else," O'Rourke said. "I want to get back to that. I'm confident that people in Gillespie County understand this issue than I ever will. I just want to make sure as governor that we partner, whether it's a matter of resources, whether it's a matter of policy, whether it's a matter of using innovative financing instruments and tax credits to make a difference so there are more housing options."

In non-political speak, O'Rourke is saying that the Republican Party used to stand for this kind of balancing of property rights, but that the messaging from state officials is anything but that. Relaxing short-term rental restrictions is a plank in the state's GOP platform.

We also wanted to know how Texas' rapid expansion, often fueled by government-backed financing, is trickling down to counties and cities without adequate funding to handle the growth, leaving the only option to raise taxes. Here in Kerr County, it's an issue with an unfunded state mandate to expand juries from six to 12 people. That has led the county to ask voters to approve about $13 million in bonds to improve the courthouse. Here's what O'Rourke said:

"I think corporations, far too often, get a free ride, especially if they're politically connected to Gov. Abbott," O'Rourke said. "I just want to make sure that everyone gets the same deal."

Schreiner University's big first-year class may be a sign of a return to normalcy

First-year Schreiner University students are applauded by the faculty during Wednesday's convocation ceremony.

They just kept coming down the aisle. Clad in Schreiner University T-shirts, the 2026 class of first-year students were cheered and lauded during the 100th Convocation.

More than 240 first-year students walked into the ceremony — one of Schreiner's biggest classes. In a period of declining collegiate enrollment in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, the arrival of such a large class was good news for Schreiner.

Schreiner University senior class representative Garrett Landin got a big round of applause from the audience.

Across Texas, enrollment fell 2.7% in spring 2022, according to a study by the National Student Clearinghouse Resource Center. It was a trend felt on most campuses across the United States.

However, former Schreiner University President Tim Summerlin shaped students' future today by noting their pandemic experience has shaped them and the university.

For more photos from Wednesday's event visit our gallery:

"Grappling with this last quarter century — with financial challenge and enrollment growth, with transforming its physical campus, with greatly expanding its fields of academic study and its modes of instruction, with over two years of dealing with a pandemic unlike any seen in a century — and everyone who was part of that heroic experience has my admiration and applause — grappling with this history has given me a far deeper sense of how much Schreiner owes its century of success to the dedication of its people," Summerlin said in his keynote address.

Former Schreiner University President Tim Summerlin received a standing ovation before and after his speech on Wednesday.

The university's 100th anniversary has led Summerlin down a new path of academic pursuit in his retirement — writing about the university's history.

"Well, what did I learn on this Centennial project that may be relevant to you?" Summerlin said. "Many things we all learn when taking on a task are mundane, but essential to success. For example, it is natural to think, "Five years! Lots of time here. Let's ease into the project." And I did so, reading, interviewing, taking notes, not worrying about producing much text. Well into the time allotted, I was asked about the number of chapters I projected and each chapter's content, and it occurred to me that it was about time to face such fundamental organizational matters. Only when Dr. Frazier of our Texas Center issued a publication schedule in February of last year did I acknowledge that it was finally time for research to yield to composition. Upperclassmen in this audience know just what I mean."

We all know what you mean Dr. Summerlin.

Schreiner University President Charlie McCormick leads a standing ovation of his predecessor Tim Summerlin.


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