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The Lead Feb. 14, 2022: A sweet weekend, Robert Earl Keen chats with us today

Clifton Fifer has plenty to say about Black History Month.

Good morning, Kerr County!

Happy Valentine's Day. It was a great weekend, with crazed weather. If you were out Saturday, you froze thanks to those bone-chilling winds. However, Sunday was absolutely spectacular. And the weather this week? Well, we should see a return of warm weather — 70s on Wednesday — with a chance of rain Wednesday night. That's it.

So this is how cold it was:

On today's The Live

We'll be chatting with Robert Earl Keen, legendary Americana singer, who announced that he was retiring from the road after Labor Day weekend. Keen is playing his final benefit show to support the Hill Country Youth Orchestra at the Cailloux Theater on Feb. 26. The sold-out show also features Tyler Childers. We'll also chat with fashionista and Gold Cup Live owner Natalee Peppitt about last-minute Valentine's Gifts and her recent purchase of Tome Boutique in downtown Kerrville. The show starts at 9 a.m.


You're not going to want to miss The Texas Hill Country Advisors

Texas Hill Country Advisors Gilbert Paiz and Andrew Gay host their financial planning show at 6 p.m. Paiz and Gay will spend part of their show discussing impending interest rate hikes from the Federal Reserve — rates that some economists suggest will jump a full point. You don't want to miss this show tonight.

Matthew Stafford joins an elite group

Los Angeles Rams quarterback Matthew Stafford guided his team to a Super Bowl win on Sunday night and did it with a late scoring drive. Stafford becomes the fourth player starring at a Texas high school to win a Super Bowl title. He joins Drew Brees (Austin Westlake, New Orleans Saints), Nick Foles (Austin Westlake, Philadelphia Eagles) and Patrick Mahomes (Whitehouse, Kansas City Chiefs) as Texas QBs with a title ring. Stafford was a standout at Highland Park near Dallas. His high school teammate, Clayton Kershaw, a Dodgers pitcher and three-time Cy Young winner, was in the stands watching his buddy win the title. Nine players with Texas roots were on the Rams roster, including Von Miller, who starred at Texas A&M and was a Super Bowl MVP for the Broncos.

Here come the builders

The Kerr County Commissioners will hear updates on two plans, including one near Camp Verde, that will add more than 170 home sites to Kerr County in the coming years. The court meets at 9 a.m., and there's a lengthy agenda. There are numerous development items on the agenda, and there's a discussion about the county's subdivision ordinances.

Is the city nearing a deal on land for the public safety building?

One of the challenges for the city of Kerrville is acquiring enough land to build its proposed 69,000-square foot public safety building, and the City Council will discuss a potential land deal in an executive session on Tuesday.

The City Council is meeting at 10 a.m. on Tuesday to hear a presentation about a new mobile application system to send out emergency alerts to residents. The application, developed by a company called Rave, is used by cities, universities and other governmental agencies to send out alerts to mobile phones in case of an emergency.

Since this is a workshop session, there will be no action items.

COVID-19 claims its second death

The Texas Department of State Health Services said a second Kerr County resident has died from COVID-19 in February. This latest COVID-19 fatality happened on Feb. 6. On Saturday, DSHS reported a Kerr County death on Jan. 31 — marking January as the fifth deadliest month for Kerr County when it comes to coronavirus. More than 200 people from Kerr County have died from the virus.

Your chance to see Precinct 2 candidates

The Republican Women of Kerr County is hosting a candidate forum for the Kerr County Commissioner's Court Pct. 2 on Tuesday. Since only Republicans are the only ones running, this is a four-way race for the GOP nomination with Sonya Hooten, Rich Paces, Stan Kubenka and Jack Pratt. Of the candidates, only Pratt hasn't given an interview with us and has been generally unresponsive to an interview request. The event starts at 6 p.m. at St. Peter's Episcopal Church's Tucker Hall. The event is free to the public and former Kerr County Judge Fred Henneke is the moderator.

Gil Salinas appointed to another state commission

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott appointed Kerr Economic Development Corp. Executive Director Gil Salinas to the Adult High School Charter School Program Advisory Committee for a term. Last year, Abbott appointed Salinas to the Motor Vehicle Crime Prevention Authority.

When you're the underdog, dig deep

Republican candidate for the 53rd Texas House District Wesley Virdell went on the attack against Republican incumbent Andrew Murr.

There's no doubt that Wesley Virdell is a big underdog when running against Texas House of Representatives District 53 incumbent Andrew Murr.

Virdell is mounting a challenge to Murr in the March 1 Republican primary. Murr hadn't had a Republican opponent since 2014, when he first ran for the seat.

So, Virdell launched a social media campaign assault against Murr over the weekend by suggesting he didn't live in the district. Virdell's ad said Murr's homestead exemption was in New Braunfels, not in Kimble County, where Murr calls home.

Wes Virdell – More Liberty Less Government
Feb 11, 2022 ·

Andrew Murr claims to live in our district, but his wife can't even vote for him because she is a registered voter in the district where they have their homestead exemption.

It may backfire on Virdell based on the number of negative comments he received in the Facebook posting. The Lead asked Murr to explain the issue.

In a phone conversation, Murr said his wife, Amanda, maintained a home in New Braunfels before they married in 2018. Murr's home is in Telegraph on the Stevenson Ranch — the ranch established by his grandfather, former Texas Gov. Coke Stevenson. However, the ranch is owned by several family members. Murr said a homestead exemption is not applicable for the property because he doesn't own it outright.

"What this is is an attack on my wife," Murr said.

Murr has shared many social media posts of events and activities around Junction and on the family's ranch throughout his term in office. Murr said when he and his wife married, they kept some of their assets separate.

Virdell has raised more than $50,000 in his race, including at least five donations from Kerrville residents. Murr had more than $100,000 on hand as of the Jan. 31 campaign finance report.

Andrew Murr called Wesley Virdell's campaign attacks an attack on his wife.

Why not just tell the truth?

The Texas Economic Development Corporation is an unabashed booster of the state's economy — as is their mission. However, a recent release from the agency demonstrates why you can't trust them to be completely truthful. It's a simple headline: Texas is No. 1 exporting state for 20 years in a row.

"As of December 2021, Texas exports year to date totaled $375. 3 billion, exceeding both 2019 and 2020 totals. Texas was also No. 1 in tech exports for the ninth year in a row. In total, Texas exports accounted for almost 1 million jobs, according to the Office of the Texas Governor," the report said.

It's a carefully cherry-picked data bit that doesn't tell the whole story, which is far more complex than what the Texas EDC would share. The bottom line is Texas has one significant export product — oil and gas. And in 2021 it was an excellent year for oil. West Texas Intermediate crude traded on average at $67 a barrel — up from $37 a barrel in 2020. So, that will give Texas a significant advantage in the value of its exports. It's also the delicate balance between complaining about high gas prices when the reality is those prices are good for Texas' economy.

The other half of the story is the exports between the states, and Texas is an economic power, but it's not No. 1. See, the problem is that it doesn't fit Gov. Greg Abbott's narrative of the state's unbridled economic power. So, it's conveniently not mentioned.

Two events from the weekend

Kerrville is uniquely gifted with the storytelling talents of Clifton Fifer, who can also sing those stories. On Saturday, Fifer gave a Black History month presentation at the Kerr County Regional History Center to a standing-room-only crowd. Fifer shared stories and songs that depicted what it was like growing up in segregated Kerrville in the 1950s and 1960s. Fifer, of course, has been instrumental in preserving the Doyle School Community Center.

Not only do we have storytellers like Fifer, but we also have the staff at the Butt-Holdsworth Library that is always available to provide a story or a demonstration. On Thursday afternoon, the library staff showed people how to make chocolate truffles. Let's just say it was a sweet time.

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