We are ready for the weekend, and we are now one day closer to Christmas. The big to-do in town, of course, is the filming of the "Love and Death," the HBO-funded limited television series at Inn of the Hills in Kerrville. The filming will require another day of possible traffic delays on Junction Highway and Harper Road from about 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.
ON TODAY'S SHOW
In this morning's first segment, Dr. Jeremy Faust will call into The Lead Live to discuss the latest variant of COVID-19 — omicron. Faust is an emergency medicine physician at Harvard University Brigham and Women's Hospital. We will also be visited by the crew from Stretch Zone, a new health business in Kerrville that focuses on stretching. Jeremy Walther and Kayte Graham will hijack the show at some point. We're just not sure when. For those ready to watch and learn, the fun starts at 9 a.m.
SPEAKING OF SHOWS
We have all of our shows available in video and via podcast, including on Spotify. We've been working hard to ensure the content is there if you want to listen to our previous episodes. Here's a rundown, along with the links to our past shows, from this week's offerings:
- Interview with St. Peter's Episcopal Church Rev. Bert Baetz: https://anchor.fm/louis-amestoy/episodes/The-Kerr-County-Lead–Dec–2–2021-e1b5e0c
- Interview with Texas Hill Country Financial Advisors Gilbert Paiz and Andrew Gay, Kerrville Pets Alive's Karen Guerriero and Hill Country Youth Ranch's Ashley Phillips: https://anchor.fm/louis-amestoy/episodes/The-Kerr-County-Lead–Nov–30–2021-e1b5da7
- Interview with Kerrville First United Methodist Church Rev. David Payne: https://anchor.fm/louis-amestoy/episodes/The-Kerr-County-Lead–Dec–1–2021-e1b5die
- Interview with Delayne Sigerman and Kerrville City Manager E.A. Hoppe: https://anchor.fm/louis-amestoy/episodes/The-Kerr-County-Lead–Dec–2–2021-e1b5e0c
THE LEAD'S E-EDITION DROPPED
One of the things we love doing is putting together our monthly e-Edition, which reminds us how much is going on in Kerrville. We had so much content from November that we couldn't fit it all in, but that's a reminder that you need to consider subscribing to our newsletter. That's right, for $5.99 per month — a 60% savings compared to a local newspaper — you get our five-day newsletter, access to exclusive content, our e-Edition, and more is on the way. To subscribe, visit us at: https://kerrcountylead.com/subscribe
To view our e-Edition
ALSO DON'T FORGET OUR PLANNER-CALENDAR FOR 2022 — JUST $15
Photography is a big part of the Kerr County Lead, and we're offering this special calendar/planner as a way of supporting our work — not to mention it makes a great Christmas gift.
The photos are all from The Lead's editor Louis Amestoy, with a focus on the beauty of Kerr County. This effort would not have been possible without the support of the Amestoy family, Herring Printing, Joe Herring Jr., and the critically important eye of Kerri Wilt.
If you would like to purchase one of our calendars, they are just $15. Here's the link: https://the-kerr-county-lead.square.site/product/calendar/2?cs=true&cst=custom
THERE'S A TON GOING ON TODAY AND SATURDAY:
Kerrville Farmer's Market
A.C. Schreiner Mansion and Butt-Holdsworth Memorial Library campus
Get your goods for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Or, even better, enjoy a freshly made pizza and a glass of beer.
Live Music by Voodoo Lengua
The Hunt Store
The Hunt Store's description is short and sweet: Musically speaking, a different kind of band. https://www.thehuntstore.com
First Friday Wine Share
Kerrville Aviation, Kerrville-Kerr County Airport
6 p.m.-7:30 p.m.
Share a glass of wine, discover a new varietal and enjoy a night of great wine. https://www.firstfridaywineshare.com/
Possessed by Paul James and Ian Moore
Here's what Arcadia Live executive director Mike Kelliher said: "Ian Moore is a super guitar player. He's got a new album out, and he's touring. Of course, our local Possessed By Paul James is opening up the show. This should be an amazing show." https://www.thearcadialive.org/show/ian-moore-dec3/
Travis Pierce Band
La Escondida, 516 Jefferson, Kerrville
The Travis Pierce Band has been playing around Kerrville, but their first stop is at La Escondida.
The Four Freshmen: Christmas
Celebrate the holidays with the Legends of Four-Man Jazz. For more than 50 years, The Four Freshmen have performed with the same unmistakable sound of the original group – a vocal harmony like no other. As the 22nd incarnation of the Four Freshmen, their longevity proves they are doing it right. Tickets are $15 to $150. https://www.caillouxperformingarts.com
"A Christmas Carol"
The Point Theater, Ingram
7:30 p.m., also on Saturday night
No Christmas season is complete without a visit from old skinflint Ebenezer Scrooge and the Ghosts of Christmas Past, Present and Future who bring about the most famous transformation in literary history. Join a small group of actors who re-create the dozens of characters populating Dickens' timeless tale of the redemptive power of Christmas. This performance is indoors. https://www.hcaf.com
Hill Country Swap Meet
Hill Country Youth Event Center
8 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Enjoy the antiques, collectibles, new and used books, tools, furniture, household items, sporting goods, etc. Concessions available. There's free parking, and the event is always pet-friendly.
Run Home For The Holidays 5K Run
Louise Hays Park, Kerrville
Get the family together and dress up as Santa, Elves, Whoville characters, or another Christmas character for an enjoyable way to help celebrate the holidays. This is not a timed race. https://www.kerrvilletx.gov/1750/Running-Home-for-the-Holidays-5K
Hill Country Chorale
Kerrville Salvation Army Ray and Joan Kroc Corps Community Center
This will be a holiday concert for the ages with the Hill Country Chorale to make you in the mood for Christmas. Admission is $15 and supports the Chorale's work.
"Snow" on the Island
Tranquility Island, Louise Hays Park, Kerrville
Mark your calendars now, as the Parks and Recreation Department will be bringing "snow" to the Island every Saturday in December! Celebrate the holiday season with friends and family on Tranquility Island in Louise Hays Park.
Live music by Collector's Edition
The Hunt Store
Enjoy the sounds of Collector's Edition in Hunt.
A CONVERSATION WITH E.A. HOPPE, KERRVILLE CITY MANAGER
Kerrville City Manager E.A. Hoppe was our guest on The Lead Live on Thursday, and he brought with him some updates about projects around the city, along with some observations about his first six months on the job. Here are three takeaways from Thursday's interview:
TXDOT IS BUSY
Hoppe said the Texas Department of Transportation is busy replacing traffic signals at five locations around Kerrville — you may have noticed. These aren't cheap or necessarily easy to fix (you also may have seen them), and TxDOT is spending about $1.5 million to replace existing signals with ones that will improve traffic flow. "That's a good thing," Hoppe said. "They will be synched. We get a lot of complaints about traffic and about signals not being sychronized." Hoppe said the systems involved with replacing the lights are complex, but TxDOT finally has the equipment to improve the signals. "Traffic can move a little smoother," Hoppe said.
ON THE LENNAR PROJECT
Lennar, America's largest homebuilder, broke ground last month on its 130-home development on Loop 534 across the Peterson Middle School and Tivy High School. Hoppe said the 34-acre development wouldn't solve all of Kerrville's housing needs, but it will help in other ways. "It helps put Kerrville on the map in regards to folks in that industry that can say 'Kerrville is here, Kerrville is open for business and Kerrville is easy to do business with, and we want to be able to come to this community and be able to help this community.'''
Hoppe also revealed Lennar's interest in Kerrville was piqued when an executive came to Kerrville for a baseball at the Sports Complex. "I'm glad you brought that up," Hoppe told Delayne Sigerman, who asked about the incident. "We had a high-level Lennar executive there kids were playing baseball and softball, and they were here at the Sports Complex, sitting in the stands and they said 'wow, this place is gorgeous." Hoppe said Lennar then reached out, and the process to get the homebuilder sited in Kerrville began. Those expectations are the homes will be move-in ready by 2023.
PUBLIC SAFETY BUILDING
A 10-person committee is currently digging into the city's needs for a new building for police, fire administration and the municipal court. The committee met Tuesday to discuss the project, and there is a consensus the building is needed. "I think it's been a conversation a long time coming," Hoppe said of the proposed building. "It's been on the radar in the community for the last five or six years. Unfortunately, it's a project that has a lot of zeroes behind it."
Just how many zeroes are going to be needed is unclear. However, the committee could present the City Council with a plan topping 50,000 square feet, costing more than $30 million. Hoppe said he believes having all three departments under one roof remains advantageous for the city.
SHORT-TERM RENTALS, ANNEXATIONS
The Kerrville Planning and Zoning Commission gave initial approval Thursday night of five of six short-term rental conditional use permits and a 168-acre annexation into the city of property now owned by Peterson Health.
The approvals also demonstrated some of the challenges facing Kerrville and Kerr County in terms of growth. While the commission approved five rental properties designed to be vacation-type rentals, the sixth one unanimously fell flat.
Before the vote, a speaker asked the commission to consider the growth of the short-term rentals more carefully, describing them as a "clear and present danger" to existing neighborhoods. Kerrville has approximately 70 approved short-term rental properties — all paying hotel occupancy taxes. However, this is not the first time there has been opposition to rentals.
The commission unanimously denied the conditional use permit for a rental at 960 Prescott St., near the city-owned Scott Schreiner Golf Course, because chairman Mike Sigerman raised concerns about the impact on the neighborhood. He wasn't alone in that decision.
When it comes to short-term rentals, Kerrville has far fewer than neighboring communities, including Fredericksburg. Still, there was a consensus among city staff and the four present commission members that the city would need to take a harder look at the growth of the rentals.
The Prescott Street property was the only one without representation at the City Hall meeting on Thursday. The previous five all had representatives available to answer questions from the commission — mostly about supervising the property.
The most extended discussion of the night focused on the 168-acre annexation of property behind Peterson Regional Medical Center. The hospital's new surgery center, planned now for a northwestern corner of the campus, will require a new parking lot. Last month, the hospital purchased the property, asking the city to annex it and then zone most of it agriculture.
The problem arose when those living in the unincorporated areas of Kerr County along Rim Rock Drive discovered the hospital plans to put a parking lot just to the west of where Rim Rock turns into Lehmann (and vice versa).
However, what developed was a series of complaints about traffic and road conditions managed by the Kerr County Commissioner's Court and the county road department. Neighbors expressed concerns about traffic through that area, including speeding down the windy Rim Rock. Sigerman took the lead here by assuring speakers about the safety of the road leading into the proposed parking lot with the city's annexation. But that was all the city could do — and the rest of Rim Rock's issues, including road quality, was the county's responsibility. Sigerman also urged those residents to consider annexation.
In the end, the commission voted unanimously to recommend the annexation to the City Council.
In other commission matters:
- Voted unanimously to annex a 6-acre parcel off Holdsworth Drive and Paschal Street, leading to a 36-unit affordable multi-family housing development.
- Voted unanimously to approve a conditional use permit to teardown and rebuild a Mini Mart convenience store and gas station at the corner of G Street and Sidney Baker Street South.
HERE'S WHAT DIVISION I LOOKS LIKE, PART 2
Well, you have to give Schreiner University men's basketball team credit — they showed up and tried. For a second consecutive game, the Mountaineers got pummeled by a Division I program — this time by Sam Houston State — 106-46.
The host Bearkats rolled out to a 62-18 halftime lead and never looked back on Thursday night. It was the largest margin of victory in the four-game series between the two universities dating back to 1999.
Schreiner struggled from the field, shooting just 27% on the night. Bronson Evans led the Mountaineers with eight points. Schreiner returns to action on Saturday at 4 p.m. to visiting Trinity University in the Southern Collegiate Athletic Conference opener.