Good morning, Kerr County!
It looks like we've got one more day of hot and dry weather — think 98 degrees — but the National Weather Service suggests it will begin a cooling trend — think 3-5 degrees — but there is a slight chance of thunderstorms on Saturday. That unsettled weather could continue into next week.
On today's The Lead Live!
Joining us to explain the ongoing hot weather is the American Red Cross meteorologist Richard McAlister will join us, but he's also bringing a special guest. Killdeer Mountain Manufacturing's Kristin Hedger joins us at 9:30 with some news. We'll also get our events update from Leslie Jones and our financial update from Andrew Gay. Join us at 9 a.m.
Speaking of events
Science and Nature
- 1-on-1 with a naturalist — Riverside Nature Center, 10 a.m. Information: https://www.riversidenaturecenter.org 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.
- Matilda" — Hill Country Arts Foundation Point Theater, Ingram, 8:30 p.m. Information: https://www.hcaf.com The details: Matilda is a little girl with astonishing wit, intelligence and psychokinetic powers. Unloved by her cruel parents, Matilda impresses her schoolteacher, the highly loveable Miss Honey. During her first term at school, Matilda and Miss Honey profoundly affect each other's lives, as Miss Honey begins recognizing and appreciating Matilda's extraordinary personality.
- Aaron Lacombe — Cafe at the Ridge, 6 p.m. Information: https://www.shopsattheridge.com
- Billy Jo — The Hunt Store, 7 p.m. Information: https://www.thehuntstore.com
- Dickie Kaiser — Southern Sky Music Cafe, 7 p.m. Information: https://www.southernskymusiccafe.com
- Mark Odom Band — Pier 27 River Lounge and Pizzeria, 8 p.m. Information: 830-896-7437
- Bill Mahko — Joanne Marie and Me Wine Boutique, 6 p.m. Information: https://www.facebook.com/wineboutique1
- The Lion King — Louise Hayes Park, 9 p.m. Information: https://kerrvilletx.gov/752/Movies-in-the-Park The details: This appears to be the remade version of it versus the classic cartoon that featured one of the greatest villainous performances in Disney history — Jeremy Irons as Scar.
- 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.
- Kerrville Business Expo — Hill Country Youth Event Center, 5:15 p.m. Information: https://www.kerrvillechamber.biz The details: Sponsored by the Kerrville Area Chamber of Commerce, there are more than 100 booths for people to interact and network with businesses, organizations and members of the Kerrville community.
Saturday, Aug. 6
Markets and sales
- Heart of the Hills Farmers Market — River Hills Mall parking lot, 8 a.m. Information: 830-370-7476
- Zions Lutheran Church Market — Zion Lutheran Church, 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Information: https://www.zionkerrville.org The details: Rummage and bake sale complete with a taco breakfast stand. Items galore, including handmade items and art.
- The Western Express — Trailhead Beer Garden at Schreiner University, 5:30-9 p.m. Information: https://www.trailheadbeergarden.com The details: Phill Brush and Stephen Castillo, together known as The Western Express, met via Craigslist in early 2018 and bonded over their shared love of first-rate songwriting and the country hits of the 1980s and '90s.
- Reuben Darnell — Cafe at the Ridge, 6 p.m. Information:
- Gary Patrick — Southern Sky Music Cafe, 7 p.m. Information: https://www.southernskymusiccafe.com
- The end of summer shindig — Kerrville Schreiner Park, 7:30-9:30 p.m. Information: 830-257-7300 The details: The Corey Weaver Band fronts this show sponsored by the city of Kerrville. There will be food trucks and other attractions at this free event.
- Case Hardin — Crider's Rodeo and Dancehall, 8 p.m. Information: https://cridersrandd.com/band-lineup
- C-Rock — Pier 27 River Lounge and Pizzeria, 8 p.m. Information: 830-896-7437
- Landon Lloyd Miller and The Great Trumpet — La Escondida 1962, 8 p.m. Information: https://www.facebook.com/La-Escondida-1962-402905176935599/
- Kerrville Business Expo — Hill Country Youth Event Center, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Information: https://www.kerrvillechamber.biz The details: Sponsored by the Kerrville Area Chamber of Commerce, there are more than 100 booths for people to interact and network with businesses, organizations and members of the Kerrville community.
- "Matilda" — Hill Country Arts Foundation Point Theater, Ingram, 8:30 p.m. Information: https://www.hcaf.com The details: Matilda is a little girl with astonishing wit, intelligence and psychokinetic powers. Unloved by her cruel parents, Matilda impresses her schoolteacher, the highly loveable Miss Honey. During her first term at school, Matilda and Miss Honey profoundly affect each other's lives, as Miss Honey begins recognizing and appreciating Matilda's extraordinary personality.
News stories we're following
Alex Jones has to pay
The gripping case of conspiracy theorist Alex Jones came to a head on Thursday when an Austin jury ruled he had to pay $4.1 million in compensatory damages to the parents of children murdered at Sandy Hook Elementary School in 2012. Jones admitted that the mass shooting that killed 26, including 20 children, was not a hoax. Here's the story: https://www.texastribune.org/2022/08/04/alex-jones-sandy-hook-trial/
Show me the money
Here's another interesting one: Texas cities are suing Netflix, Disney and other streaming giants under the claim they owe the cities money for lost revenues from a decline in franchise fees from people cutting cable. Dallas, Fort Worth and Austin are leading the effort. Here's the story: https://www.texastribune.org/2022/08/04/disney-netflix-hulu-texas-cities-lawsuit-fees/
Business Expo adds Saturday job fair
The Kerrville Area Chamber of Commerce will host its Business Expo starting today, and the event is jam-packed with local businesses ready to share their services and wares. However, one thing is certain — the economy will be on everyone's mind.
To help with one of the biggest local issues, Chamber President and CEO Brad Barnett said a job fair is now part of the event, held from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturday at the Hill Country Youth Event Center.
"So, every booth, if you've got job openings, will have a sign, job openings, and we'll have some spots on site that if you want to do interviews there, do it," Barnett said. "So, we're encouraging people. We're doing some advertisements in San Antonio, New Braunfels, just to try to get people regionally to come out if they're looking for a job and try to get these jobs filled."
The event kicks off today at 5:30 p.m. with a wine share.
P&Z recommends limiting short-term rentals
The Kerrville Planning and Zoning Commission decided that it liked the city staff's recommendations when it comes to short-term rentals — except for one thing.
That one thing is a 250-foot radial buffer of homes zoned R1-A with an accessory dwelling unit. So, with a recommendation of "tweaking that radius," the commission voted 5-2 to approve ordinance changes that will restrict short-term rentals to specific zones and ban them from single-family residential, residential estate and residential medium density.
The next step in the process is with the Kerrville City Council in the coming weeks to determine how they want to proceed with the new ordinances that replace the conditional-use permit process for short-term rentals.
The decision seemed to satisfy those who opposed the growth of short-term rentals, but operators will likely oppose it. Planning Director Drew Paxton told the commission that about 30 homes are currently in the R-1 zone, with another 30 in the R-1A.
The restrictions come after weeks of contentious back and forth between neighbors and short-term rental operators — with both sides trying to validate their points to the City Council and the planning and zoning. Last week, the City Council and P&Z hosted a town hall meeting about the issue, which Paxton and city staff drew from to develop the ordinance changes.
During the three-hour meeting, the emotional issue drew the usual complaints about being a ''clear and present danger to neighborhoods" to squabbles about businesses shouldn't be allowed to operate in neighborhoods.
After more than a dozen speakers, Commissioners Tabor McMillan and Kevin Bernhard questioned the viability of restricting short-term rentals in R-1 and R-E and raised the issue of keeping conditional-use permits when circumstances arise.
However, Chairman Mike Sigerman said he didn't want things done on a case-by-case basis and argued that the best way forward was to look at a better way to improve the radius limitations in those R-1A neighborhoods.
What the P&Z recommended on Thursday night was:
- To ban further short-term rentals in single-family residential homes, residential estates and medium density. Those with prior approvals would remain in place.
- Allow homes in an R-1A zone, where an accessory dwelling exists, but they balked at the 250-foot buffer.
- Create a licensing and inspection program to replace the conditional-use permit.
There were plenty of passionate arguments and referrals to a 2018 Texas Supreme Court decision that allowed the city of Arlington to restrict short-term rentals to the entertainment district, including the Texas Rangers and Dallas Cowboys stadiums.
What wasn't discussed is that Arlington's case represents a decidedly mixed message from the Texas Supreme Court, which has ruled in favor of short-term rental owners in two other cases. It's also a plank of the Texas Republican Party's platform to remove regulations on short-term rentals.
So, where does this end up? The City Council will weigh what's next, and plenty of discussions are still ahead when it comes to short-term rentals in Kerrville.
Not so fast on twin hotel project
If it weren't for the short-term rental conversation, the zoning change would have allowed the development of a pair of franchised hotels along Yorktown Boulevard would have been the day's top story coming out of the planning and zoning commission.
The developers of a Marriott Townplace Suites and an IHG Atwell Suites wanted to change the zoning at 598 Yorktown Blvd. to a planned development district from its currently zoned light commercial. The reason was simple — it allowed the developer to squeeze two four-story hotels into the 6 acres, with a narrow setback from neighborhoods.
Of course, the thought of two four-story hotels, with about 90 rooms each, alarmed neighbors who didn't seem to appreciate looking up at the buildings or being looked down upon by the hotel guests.
At times this year, the planning commission has split on many land-use decisions, but this one seemed to unify the seven-member commission. All of them expressed a level of concern about the project, from parking to the height to the change of zoning. In the end, the commission voted unanimously to recommend the City Council reject the zoning change.
Crowdfunding to help match a grant for The Lead
The big news for us is that our primary benefactor, Meta Facebook, announced last month that it would be scaling back its efforts to present high-quality news, including long-term funding for The Lead and other independent producers. It's also cutting back its support of other news sources. So, that leaves us a year to figure out a transition plan to a new platform that will accommodate our subscribers and viewers.
One direction we are taking is crowdsourcing our efforts to match a $6,000 one-time grant from the Google News Initiative to ensure we have a sustainability plan for our future growth. That plan includes hiring a business development manager, transitioning to a new content management system and improving our live video production efforts. We believe we're on the right track and have a model that will deliver in the future, especially in the shifting winds of the media landscape.
If you're interested in helping us match those dollars, please donate here: https://checkout.square.site/merchant/MLEWCF2K4ASZZ/checkout/YE5IHXVYW4GJ5HUOOKXJDI4E