We made it. The final day of 2021, or for some of us 2020.1. Yes, the year is coming to an end tonight. There's a lot to unpack from 2021, but 2022 certainly has some promise — we hope. And now a look at the weather. It will be cold and windy. Lows in the 20s.
WHAT'S GOING ON WITH NEW YEAR'S?
This is it. And with COVID-19 resurgent, it may be a good idea to stay low, but these are enticing options.
- Bridget's Basket in Hunt is hosting a dinner and fireworks show. Look for ambiance and great food; Bridget's Basket is hard to beat. Add in a special menu and fireworks, and we're sold. However, you're going to need reservations for this gala. Call them at (830) 238-3737 to reserve your spot.
- Moon Shadow Haven, a slick new events venue in Mountain Home, will play host to a 21-and-over event to benefit the Hill Country Youth Ranch. There will be live music, drinks and dancing. For more information, visit their e-invite.
- Gravity Check Saloon and Arena will play host to a masquerade ball on Friday night. The event starts at 7 p.m. Tickets are $25 for general admission, $40 per couple. Reservations are required; for tickets, visit the event site.
THE GOOD, THE BAD AND MAYBE OK PART OF KERR COUNTY'S COVID-19 SURGE
On Thursday, Peterson Health said 56 people tested positive for COVID-19, with 22 being fully vaccinated against the virus. Excluding Monday's data, which is drawn partially from the weekend, we've seen three consecutive days with 25 or more people testing positive — that's not happened here previously.
OK, so here's the good part — we think.
- Peterson Regional Medical Center's COVID-19 admissions have stayed steady at 10, with four in the intensive care unit. If the delta variant infected like what we're seeing this week last summer, that may have sent the hospital into complete overload. So, what does that suggest? More people are fully vaccinated than last summer is one start. Secondly, the virus may be milder and hospitalize fewer people.
OK, so here's the bad part — we're hoping against it.
- Peterson Health officials told The Lead that the hospital's census is 92 patients — with just 10 with COVID. Technically, that means the hospital is over its acute care capacity, but more worrying is if we're wrong about omicron. If omicron starts hospitalizing people by just five or 10 that would strain the hospital, especially in the ICU. Remember, four people are already in the ICU with COVID, and that's about 30% of the unit's capacity.
And this is what we are hoping for:
- It's mild. Of course, that's a grain of salt kind of deal, because a mild case of COVID still sounds miserable. However, if people can stay out of the hospital that would be a good outcome for all of us.
Here's a really good explainer from a British physician who has a no-nonsense approach to COVID, and in this video he shares a lot of detail about omicron.
COLD WEATHER IS COMING, GOV. ABBOTT IS SAYING THE GRID IS READY
With a cold snap headed our way this weekend, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott tweeted out that the power grid was ready to handle the freezing temperatures, but others were saying not so fast.
See @GregAbbott_TX's post on Twitter.
The Texas Tribune reported on Tuesday that Abbott intervened to paint a rosy picture of the power situation coming out of last February's devastating winter storm.
“It was 150% Abbott’s idea,” said one of the people familiar with the communication from Abbott’s team. “The governor wanted a press conference to give people confidence in the grid.”
Read more of the Tribune's story here: https://www.texastribune.org/2021/12/28/texas-greg-abbott-power-grid/
SPEAKING OF ABBOTT
The governor's blame game with President Joe Biden persisted on Thursday with a fight about monoclonal antibody therapies — or the shortage of them. The problem, however, with the distribution of the therapies is complicated by their cost and the treatments themselves. Here's an excellent explainer about the treatment from the Washington Post.
What has been absent from Abbott's rhetoric has been recognition of the following:
- A record positivity rate hit Texas on Thursday, with 26% testing positive.
- Hospitalizations are climbing again, more than 5,500 are now hospitalized — up 12% from Wednesday.
- No mention of an affordable COVID-19 vaccine developed in Texas by doctors at Texas Children's Medical Center, which gained immediate emergency authorization in India. The vaccine is aimed to be an affordable way to treat the virus.
- And, finally, a reminder that the monoclonal vaccines are used for those who are sick with COVID-19, and there's some doubt whether it works against the omicron variant. The treatments are not a substitute for vaccines.
ONE MORE COVID-19 NOTE
See @Cleavon_MD's post on Twitter.
OUR FIRST-EVER OUTLOOK SECTION
We did a deep dive into six areas that we think are the most significant storylines heading into 2022. Most of these won't surprise you. We did leave off a couple, including the labor situation. However, these six areas are seemingly some of the most important the city of Kerrville and Kerr County face in the coming year. This section is accessible (for the time being) to paid subscribers.
Outlook 2022: Kerr County voters will decide how they want to be led
With a race for mayor shaping up, the Kerrville City Council will have a new look; there's a five-way race for Pct. 2 on the commissioner's court
Outlook 2022: Kerr County voters will be asked to pay heavy prices for facilities
The city, county could ask voters to approve $110 million in bonds in 2022.
Outlook 2022: Short-term rentals continue to fill a need in Kerr County
The vacation market is booming, with people attracted to the beauty of the Hill Country, but is too much a good thing?
Outlook 2022: Don't expect Kerrville's housing affordability to improve
If anything the market conditions will only tighten, leading to higher prices.
Outlook 2022: Tackling coronavirus will be a persistent Kerr County headache
The virus doesn't appear to be going away anytime soon, nor is the division about how to deal with it.
Outlook 2022: Quality of place is defining Kerr County's splendor
From recreation opportunities along the Guadalupe River to events, the attractions of the Hill Country are a powerful draw for those wanting to come here.
THE ASTROS ASK A CHALLENGING QUESTION
Look, we're going to be the first to admit there's no love for the Houston Astros in our home, but as a young boy, the pitching duo of Nolan Ryan and J.R. Richards absolutely terrified me. Those two were incredible and I still think the uniforms of the 1970s and 1980s were the best. But here's the deal:
See @astros's post on Twitter.
JUST A REMINDER
The Lead Live will return on Jan. 5 at Pint and Plow. If you're interested in being a guest on the show in the coming weeks, feel free to send us a note. firstname.lastname@example.org.
A LOOK BACK AT SOME OF THE FACES WE'VE COVERED
Photography is a big part of our effort at The Lead, and we compiled some of our favorite images from the last 90 days of 2021 — lots of smiles. Check out our e-Edition here:
AN INVITATION TO SUBSCRIBE TO THE LEAD
We will be moving our morning newsletter — delivered to your inbox Monday-Friday — to paying subscribers only starting next week. We will still offer free content for important breaking news and unique content offered on our Facebook page, including The Lead Live webcast at 9 a.m. on weekdays.
We have two paid models:
- $5.99 per month, a 64% savings compared to other media outlets.
- $54.99 per year, a 73% savings compared to other media outlets.
- So, upgrade your subscription here: https://kerrcountylead.com/subscribe
STILL NEED A CALENDAR? WE'VE GOT A FEW LEFT
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