Good morning, Kerr County!
It felt like the weather was teasing us on Wednesday, with dark and stormy clouds that produced nothing. That pattern of potential rain will continue through the weekend. It's also going to be warm — in the low 90s.
Stories we're following from around Texas
The Uvalde Independent School District Police Chief fired
The Uvalde Independent School District Board of Trustees fired Police Chief Pete Arredondo in the wake of the mass shooting at Robb Elementary School that claimed the lives of 19 children and two teachers. Arredondo called his firing a public "lynching." Here's the story: https://www.texastribune.org/2022/08/24/uvalde-school-police-chief-pete-arredondo-termination-board-vote/
Student debt relief sparks war of words
President Joe Biden announced that he would reduce student debt by $10,000 per student for those making under $125,000 per year, or for families earning $250,000. That means millions of Americans get a break, but the backlash was swift. Here's our Rep. Chip Roy (R-21st District) issuing a Tweet criticizing the act:
Does Paxton's opinion change election law?
An opinion by Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton may change election management by granting access to ballots within a day of the final tally. State and federal law currently order ballot retention for 22 months before the public can access those records. However, Paxton's opinion could change that interpretation. Here's analysis from:
On today's The Lead Live!
If you've had a chance to watch our live show this week, you may have noticed that each episode is long. We streamed more than 11 hours through Wednesday, with interviews involving 23 nonprofit groups and 52 people. We've still got 13 more interviews to do through Friday. Here's a look at our remaining schedule:
- 8:10 — Kerr County Sheriff's Foundation
- 8:40 — Rotary Club of Kerrville
- 9:10 — Kerr Arts and Cultural Center
- 9:40 — Parenting Resource Center
- 10:10 — Dietert Center
- 10:40 — Animal Welfare Society of Kerr County/Freeman Fritts Shelter
- 11:10 — The Kerrville Lion's Club
- 8:10 — YMCA
- 8:40 — Hill Country Arts Foundation
- 9:10 — Native Plant Society
- 9:40 — Riverside Nature Center
- 10:10 — Hill Country Youth Ranch
- 10:40 — The Big Fix
Things we learned this week:
- Kerr Konnect celebrated a huge milestone by providing its 11,000th ride to a Kerr County resident. "COVID put us behind," said Georgianna Itz, the organization's volunteer coordinator.
- Cash is nice, but volunteers are even better. We've heard it repeatedly from those at BCFS Health and Human Services, Big Brothers Big Sisters, the Special Opportunity Center, Kerr Konnect and the American Red Cross. "If anyone has an inkling of wanting to step outside of their comfort zone and help some folks get to the doctor or around town then please give us a call," said Itz.
- MHDD ups its minimum wage to $15 per hour. MHDD provides support and mental health care for residents in 19 Texas counties, but the organization struggles to attract employees.
- The Raphael Free Clinic is celebrating its 25th anniversary from 4-7 p.m. today. The clinic is at 1807 Water St. Clinic Director Albert Vasquez said there would be food, refreshments and other items to celebrate the milestone anniversary. Surprisingly, Vasquez said the clinic has difficulty attracting patients because some don't understand the requirements or have misconceptions about the clinic's mission.
- When it comes to providing Big Brothers Big Sisters, the Kerrville chapter is one of the best regarding the length of service to a child. "Our average match length is 34 months," said Rianne Sykes-Wenske, the organization's Kerrville branch director. Joining Sykes-Wenske was Kathy Sears Hall, who has been a Big Sister to her "little" for 10 years.
- We've seen a real focus on veterans' mental health care throughout our week of programming. Together with Hill Country Veterans has quickly become one of the leading voices in suicide prevention among those who have served. "We tend to focus more on why people may in distress for a variety of reasons," said retired Lt. Gen. Michael Oates, a former brigade commander of the 101st Airborne. "With veterans, it tends to be an over-focus on (post-traumatic stress disorder) when it could be any number of mundane reasons for the stressors. So, we try to raise awareness in the community and specifically educate people to lean in."
- Another element of working with veterans is finding coping mechanisms that help, and Yoga practitioner Rick Trzcinski has found a niche with the support of the Elks Lodge. Trzcinski is a certified yoga therapist, and his passion is helping veterans. He works with the Veterans Yoga Project and believes that mobility, mindfulness and proper breathing help alleviate stress. "We can adapt for any injuries or issues," Trzcinski said. "Anyone can do Yoga if they can breathe."
- We got an update from Janet Taylor of the Texas Veterans Commission about how the Texas-focused agency helps veterans navigate Veterans Affairs and pairing them with nonprofits for services. She also provided a video explaining the commission's health care advocacy efforts.
- Habitat for Humanity's new executive director Mary Campana said the latest houses planned for construction attracted 450 applicants — further evidence of how difficult the housing market is in Kerr County. From that list, Habitat whittled it down to 21 families who could be selected for 12 homes expected to be constructed in the coming months.
- When singer-songwriter Robert Earl Keen said he was no longer playing live events, that was a potential blow to the Hill Country Youth Orchestra, which received more than $200,000 in donations from Keen's annual benefit concert. However, Greg Schrader, one of the orchestra's board members, said the orchestra remains in good shape to continue providing free lessons for those who want to participate. The orchestra already hosts a golf tournament and a popular high tea but is also considering another big benefit concert — still to be determined.
- Former Kerrville Mayor Bill Blackburn stopped by to praise the Community Foundation of the Texas Hill Country's work in the community.
Our favorite moment from Wednesday's show
Cali Lehmann joined us and ran the show on Wednesday. No matter what, Cali Lehmann can brighten anyone's day.
Hold on Buzzie's Bar-B-Q isn't going away
Brenda and Buzzie Hughes are selling their barbecue restaurant at the corner of Francisco Lemos and Schreiner streets, but they are not giving up on barbecue. Brenda Hughes told The Lead that the couple is just getting out of the "brick and mortar" business to focus on catering events. Buzzie's is one of Kerrville's more famed restaurants for its award-winning brisket and is a gathering place for many in the community.
Another milestone for Fore Premier Properties
Laura and Micah Fore built a powerhouse brand with Fore Premier Properties. That brand took one giant leap forward when the Fores announced they had topped $1 billion in gross sales.
The League of Women's Voters celebrates the 19th Amendment
The League of Women Voters of the Hill Country Texas will celebrate the 102nd anniversary of the ratification of the 19th Amendment with a dinner at 5:30 p.m. on Friday at Schreiner University.
The Women's Equality Day dinner's speaker is Lourna Marquez Carrasquillo, a community relations staffer for District 31 with the Department of Homeland Security and the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services. Her talk will cover the path to citizenship.
To make a reservation, contact Bunny Bond by email (email@example.com) or phone (830-377-9940).
The Hill Country Texas League serves five counties: Bandera, Blanco, Gillespie, Kendall, and Kerr. Visit the League website: lwvhillcountrytexas.org for more information or contact firstname.lastname@example.org
Join the Kerrville Area Youth Leadership Academy
The city of Kerrville is looking for a few good young people for its Kerrville Area Youth Leadership Academy. KAYLA will develop youth leaders committed to learning about local government and provide an overview of the complexity and variety of opportunities available through public service.
Students must be Kerr County residents and currently enrolled in 9th – 12th grade for the 2022-23 school year. Each student must complete the KAYLA application in full and provide a letter of reference from their principal or nominating teacher, must have a valid email address that is checked regularly, and may not have previously served as a member of KAYLA.
KAYLA will meet the second Thursday of each month (October – April) from 4:30 – 5:30 p.m. The KAYLA application can be found at www.kerrvilletx.gov/. The deadline to apply is Sept. 2, 2022. For more information, please contact Megan Folkerts at email@example.com or (830) 258-1113.
Things to do today:
- Kerr Arts Exhibits — Kerr Arts and Cultural Center, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Information: https://www.kacckerrville.com The details: Three art exhibits. Paintings by James Crouse, “Images” KACC judged membership show, “Photoquest” a judged exhibit featuring images captured by members of the Kerrville Camera Club. Artists reception August 27th, 1-3 p.m.
- 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: https://www.hcaf.com The details: Featuring art by HCAF member artists.
- Vicki Keese Art Exhibit — Kerrville Hills Winery, 11 a.m. to 6 p.m., Thursday-Saturday, noon to 5 p.m. Sundays. Through Oct. 30. Information: https://www.dancingdogsdesign.com The details: Artist Vicki Keese has an exhibition at Kerrville Hills Winery through the end of October. Stop by and enjoy some great wine and art. The show includes various original art to enhance the walls of your home, business and outdoor space.
- Hill Country Music — Kerr Regional History Center, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesday-Thursday through Sept. 8. Information: 830-258-1274 The details: An exhibition about the rich history of Hill Country music. Learn how country music was created and helped inspire other music genres, and how a German music teacher, Julius Weiss, helped inspire Scott Joplin to create ragtime and become the "King of Ragtime." The exhibit will feature the Kerrville Folk Festival and how the event inspired the music scene in Texas.
- Mexico: Splendor of Thirty Centuries — Kerr Regional History Center, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesday-Thursday through Sept. 8. Information: 830-258-1274 The details: An exhibition based on the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the San Antonio Museum of Art's international exhibition, and organized by Humanities Texas, the state affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities. In Mexico, two civilizations have lived and fought across the land and within the soul of every individual. One civilization is native to the Americas. The other originated in Europe, but now is so firmly ensconced that it has become an elemental part of the Mexican character. "Mexico" presents 3,000 years of Mexican culture and history. Photography highlights stone sculptures from prehistoric times, liturgical artifacts from Colonial Days, 19th-century portraits and landscapes, and works on canvas and paper by 20th-century muralists. The exhibition enhances appreciation of Mexico's richness and complexity and its people.
- 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.