Good morning, Kerr County!
Well, that was unexciting. After some threatening forecasts of massive rain, the National Weather Service rolled back the worst of its rainfall predictions for Tuesday and today. The National Weather Service is still suggesting unsettled weather for the rest of the week, but the chance of some soaking rains appears to be fading. The Weather Channel said Kerrville received a quarter-inch of rain from Monday's rainfall. The mean precipitation for August is about 2 inches for Kerrville. Last year, Kerrville received 2 inches. As of this morning, Kerrville appears headed to a similar rainfall total to 2011 — when the city received just 13 inches.
On today's The Lead Live!
We are into our third day of programming with the Community Foundation of the Texas Hill Country to highlight our nonprofits. We've got eight in the works, but we've also got some surprises today.
- 8:10 — Big Brothers, Big Sisters
- 8:40 — Together with Hill Country Veterans
- 9:10 — Kerrville Pets Alive
- 9:40 — Doyle School Community Center
- 10:10 — BCFS Health and Human Services
- 10:40 — Community Foundation of The Texas Hill Country
- 11:10 — American Red Cross
- 11:40 — The Hill Country Youth Orchestra
Today's newsletter is free!
Typically, our Monday through Wednesday newsletter are for premium subscribers, but this week marks our first anniversary of publishing. So, we're offering today's newsletter for free. This is also our opportunity to remind you to subscribe to The Lead, starting at just $5.99 per month. To pay us, you must use Facebook Pay to get the $5.99 per month or $54.99 per year rate. To read the content, you do not have to belong to Facebook. If you want to pay but not through Facebook, we're offering an annual $60 subscription through Square.
- To subscribe for $5.99 per month or $54.99 per year, please follow this link: https://kerrcountylead.com/subscribe
- To subscribe through Square for $60 per year, please follow this link: https://checkout.square.site/merchant/MLEWCF2K4ASZZ/checkout/SSD7F5CF2Z6FWOF3NPQFGPCG Here's the catch: If you want to subscribe, you still have to register for a free account here: https://kerrcountylead.com/subscribe
Some stories we're following
Texas abortion providers sue Attorney General
- The reproductive rights organizations are suing Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton over the prosecution of abortion providers. Read more here: https://www.texastribune.org/2022/08/23/abortion-funds-lawsuit-texas-travel/
San Antonio company selected to lead moon base project
- If you're headed to Mars, you're going to need a moon base to get there, and a team from San Antonio is leading the effort. Read more here: https://sanantonioreport.org/astroport-space-technologies-moon-nasa-contract/
Budget gets first approval; Parking lot issue continue to plague city
The Kerrville City Council gave its initial OK to a more than $70 million budget on Tuesday night. It's just a first reading, but it clears the way for the city to move forward on its tax increase to fund the $45 million public safety building.
In the planning stages for months, the budget features raises for city employees, continued work on city streets and more spending on public safety. With record sales tax revenue, the city could afford a 5% raise for its employees — something most had gone without thanks to austerity measures enacted during the coronavirus pandemic.
However, the meeting was not without difficulties, and a nagging parking lot issue came to a head. The owner of a Sidney Baker Street commercial plaza, which houses Soaring Dragon restaurant, came out against a proposed plan developed by the planning and zoning commission to limit a parking lot's access to Clay Street.
For more than five years, the city and the property owner Bruce Motheral have battled over his plans to build a parking lot to serve his business. It finally ended up in 216th District Court, where Judge Pat Patillo sided with Motheral. The ruling said Kerrville had to allow the parking lot, which was part of a re-plat of Motheral's Sidney Baker property, to include one on Clay Street as a single property.
Initially, the city's community development department presented plans that showed an entrance and exit from Clay Street into the parking lot. When it reached the planning and zoning commission last month, it faced ferocious opposition from neighbors.
In an effort to placate the neighborhood concerns, the P&Z devised a plan to close off the Clay Street option by creating one-way access from Sidney Baker that would loop around the complex into the parking lot and then back out onto Sidney Baker. Motheral's attorney, Patrick Cohoon, said the P&Z plan wasn't realistic and was unacceptable.
At this point, City Attorney Mike Hayes recommended that the City Council go into an immediate executive session. After 30 minutes behind closed doors, the Council returned and voted to table the discussion on the plan (which would have created a small planned development district) until the City Council's meeting next month.
The Council is stuck between a litigious property owner who has already won in court and longtime neighbors who don't want the traffic on Clay Street.
In other City Council matters:
- The public safety building's bonds went on the market on Tuesday and generated immense interest. While the city's debt limit on the project is $45 million, investors jumped on the opportunity to purchase the AA-rated bonds, leading to more than $110 million in orders from institutions and investors. Not everyone got a chance to buy those, but the city's securities advisor said the interest showed the city's strong financial position.
- During the City Council workshop, the city staff made another presentation about special financing tools called public improvement districts and municipal utility districts — PIDS and MUDs. The districts, allowed under Texas law, will enable a developer to create a district that can issue bonds for water, wastewater roads and other amenities within the district. The bonds are assessed against each lot and paid back by the property owner. City Manager E.A. Hoppe and Assistant City Manager Michael Hornes said developers could ask the city to implement financing options. Still, the city currently has no policy to manage them. Making things more complicated is a developer can implement a MUD, with approval from the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality, in the city's extra-territorial jurisdiction. It can go into effect if the city doesn't approve it in 90 days.
Listening, teaching is music to their ears
Terri Hendrix and Lloyd Maines, center, talk with Bill Muse's music class at Schreiner University.
Terri Hendrix and Lloyd Maines have plenty of stories to share about music and songwriting, but listening is one of their biggest gifts.
On Tuesday, the singers and songwriters spent time in the Schreiner University classes of Kathleen Hudson, who teaches freshman English, and Bill Muse, who teaches songwriting. Hendrix and Maines have performed worldwide but frequently find themselves in Kerrville.
Tonight they will perform at Schreiner University as part of the music and conversation series at 7 p.m. in the Rodman Steele Recital Hall in the Junkin Ministry building.
During Hudson's class, Maines and Hendrix faced questions about preparing to perform all the way to the writing process. Hendrix drew her inspiration from Olympic gold medalist Carl Lewis, who won nine gold track and field medals in four Olympics. Hendrix explained Lewis would visualize each of his performances from start to finish, which provided her inspiration to perform.
Hendrix has struggled with a vocal chord disorder that makes her speaking voice wobbly. She frequently jokes about it, often apologizing for her goat-like cadence, but with massage and a deep warm-up, she can still thrill an audience with her singing.
But Maines and Hendrix spent plenty of time listening. When Katie Milton Jordan, a graduate student, got up to sing a song, the pair listened intently and provided contextual feedback. Another student, who had just started playing guitar in January, was deeply encouraged by the two.
However, Hendrix aimed to connect with the students by relating that independent music grew out of Houston-area rappers selling music from the back of their cars. When Hendrix couldn't get a record deal when she started her career in the early 1990s, she found success doing what the rappers did — selling her music directly to her audience.
Wednesday, Aug. 24
Markets and sales
- Kerr County Produce Market Day — The Big Red Barn, 10 a.m., Information: 830-896-7330 The details: Kerr County Produce Market Day (The Big Red Barn). Local Hill Country wholesale warehouse distributor for the finest fruits and vegetables. Open to the public.
- Friends of the Library Book Sale — Butt-Holdsworth Memorial Library, 1–3 p.m. Information: https://kerrvillet.gov/349/FOTL-Book-Sale 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.
Thursday, Aug. 25
Karaoke Night — Arcadia Live!, 6 p.m. Information: https://www.thearcadialive.org The details: Join us for Thirsty Thursdays at Arcadia Live, the place to be on Thursday nights. Bring some friends and sing your heart out to your favorite tunes. Full bar open.