Good morning, Kerr County!
We are headed toward a warm one today — 81 degrees, according to the National Weather Service. Tuesday could be even warmer, with a high of 83. There's a chance of thunderstorms on Wednesday night into Thursday morning.
Don't forget today's a holiday
Yes, that's right, it's Presidents Day, which means schools, banks, government offices, and your postal service are closed today. So, for a lot of you, enjoy your day. For the rest of us, enjoy working.
Speaking of presidents
Photo by Greg Skidmore.
Former President Donald Trump's new social media site Truth Social is expected to launch today on app platforms for Apple and Google, according to Reuters.
On Feb. 15 Trump's eldest son Donald Jr. posted on Twitter a screenshot of his father's verified @realDonaldTrump Truth Social account with one post, or "truth," that he uploaded on Feb. 14: "Get Ready! Your favorite President will see you soon!"
Just call it music Monday on The Lead Live
Recent Kerrville transplant Landon Lloyd Miller will be a guest on today's The Lead Live starting at 9 a.m. We can best describe Miller as a renaissance man lured to the Texas Hill Country to work in the wine industry. Miller is also a singer-songwriter who has produced an album called "Light Shines Through," scheduled for a March 4 release. Singer and ukulele player Lyla Moura will join us at 9:30 a.m. to discuss her latest schedule of performances. Moura has gigged around Kerrville and Fredericksburg for the last two years.
Texas Hill Country Advisors tonight at 6 p.m.
Texas Hill Country Advisors Andrew Gay and Gilbert Paiz will host their weekly webcast/podcast at 6 p.m. tonight for the latest financial planning and an overview of the market. To catch last week's shows:
Some in-case-you-missed-it stories from the weekend:
We have a race for the City Council and Mayor's seats. On Friday, the final day to file, Brent Bates filed to run for mayor of Kerrville, joining Judy Eychner and Vince Voelkel in the race to succeed Bill Blackburn, who is stepping down after two terms as mayor. Robin Monroe filed to run for the Place 4 seat held by Brenda Hughes. Here's a look at the stories on both candidates:
- Robin Monroe announces bid to run for Kerrville City Council
- Candidate who is suing Kerrville in federal court enters mayor's race
Soccer brawl draws police response
Kerrville Police are investigating a brawl last week during an Our Lady of the Hills High School soccer match at the Kerrville Sports Complex. Two players received minor injuries in the fight, but KPD said that parents, students and coaches were involved in the melee on Feb. 16.
"(Officers) were told that at the conclusion of the game, the teams met at midfield to shake hands," KPD Sgt. Jack Lamb said via email. "After shaking hands, players began to argue, and a fight broke out. Officers received conflicting stories as to who initiated the fight."
Our Lady of the Hills has not returned emails requesting comment. The fight may have happened against Holy Cross High School of San Antonio.
Gross find along the side of the road
The Kerr County Sheriff's Office, Kerr County Animal Services, Texas game wardens and the Exotic Wildlife Association are investigating the dumping of five dead fallow deer along the side of Texas 41 in Kerr County late on the night of Feb. 11 or in the early morning hours of Feb. 12. Kerr County Crime Stoppers offers a $5,000 reward that leads to the arrest and/or the indictments of the person or persons responsible. Kerr County Crime Stoppers said tips reported are eligible to remain anonymous and are eligible for the cash reward. Tipsters can report anonymously by calling 830-896-8477 on the web at www.kerrtips.com, or by using our P3 Tip app for smartphones.
Light turnout so far for early voting
A little more than 5% of Kerr County's registered voters cast their ballots last week for the March 1 primary. Here in Kerr County, it's the Republican side that matters most with important races locally and statewide, including for governor and attorney general. Early voting continues Tuesday through Friday.
Schreiner men, women sweep University of Dallas
Holding hands with his mom, Schreiner University senior Alex Dehoyos walks onto the court at Schreiner's Stephens Events Center for the final time on Friday. Dehoyos will finish his career as one of the best all-time players in the university's history.
Schreiner University's men's and women's basketball teams swept past the University of Dallas on Friday night — the regular season-finales for both teams. The Mountaineers will play in the Southern Collegiate Athletic Conference tournament starting Thursday in Sherman, Texas at Austin University.
- Schreiner's furious second-half rally stops Dallas, 79-75
- Reserves rule for Schreiner women in rout of Dallas, 82-67
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COVID-19 claims another life
COVID-19 has claimed the life of the eighth Kerr County resident this month and the 25th in 2022, according to data released Saturday by the Texas Department of State Health Services.
The death happened on Feb. 13 — per DSHS, there was no other information available about the person who died. It is not believed to have been at Peterson Regional Medical Center, which has not reported a COVID-19-related fatality since Nov. 16.
On Friday, Peterson did not update its data but reported Wednesday that it had 14 hospitalized with COVID-19. DSHS said the state's hospitalizations fell to 5,600 — down from more than 6,000 on Friday.
DSHS said that nearly 10,000 Kerr County residents have tested positive for the virus. The agency says Kerr County has suffered 169 deaths. Still, that total does not reflect deaths at Peterson Regional Medical Center, long-term care centers, the Kerrville State Hospital or deaths of veterans who receive care through the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. The Lead estimates Kerr County's death toll is more than 210 people.
In another development, a study published Journal of American Medical Association found that the widely heralded drug ivermectin, one seen regularly advertised in downtown Kerrville, is ineffective against mild to severe COVID-19.
"In this randomized clinical trial of high-risk patients with mild to moderate COVID-19, ivermectin treatment during early illness did not prevent progression to severe disease," wrote the study's Malaysian authors, who investigated the use of the drug as an inexpensive antiviral tool against COVID-19. "The study findings do not support the use of ivermectin for patients with COVID-19."
And here we go, Garcia wants to review city attorney
Kerrville City Councilman Roman Garcia has placed an item on Tuesday's City Council agenda that requires an executive session discussion about City Attorney Mike Hayes. The citation is: "Personnel matters regarding the City Attorney, as to the appointment, employment, evaluation, reassignment, duties, discipline, or dismissal or to hear a complaint or charge against . . . "
That discussion will happen sometime Tuesday night behind closed doors at the City Council meeting.
What this is regarding is explicitly unclear because it's a personnel matter. It likely stems from a confrontation last year when Garcia drew an off-the-record rebuke from Hayes for accusing the city staff of illegal conduct during a break in the Nov. 9 City Council meeting. Hayes has frustrated a small group, including Garcia, about his consistent position that the city's upcoming May 7 election is unlawful under the city's charter and Texas law.
Mayor Bill Blackburn supports Garcia's request for an executive session discussion.
During the Nov. 9 meeting, Garcia argued that the city had a legal responsibility to hold the elections in November. The charter, the city's governing document, required two-year terms for those elected.
"It's two years and so I respect the opinion of everybody who spoke, and those on council, who may disagree but in terms of upholding the will of the citizens and our city charter," Garcia said. "When we come up here, we're elected we raise our right hand to swear to uphold the constitution and laws of the United States and this state. And the laws of this state provide that our charter is the ultimate ruling for us. It's like our constitution for the city. So, again with all due respect, I respect everyone else's opinion, but I think we need to uplift and uphold the city charter and the will of the people. We should hold the election in November."
After the speech, the City Council transitioned into another moment, but an apparently exasperated Mayor Bill Blackburn called for a five-minute recess. At this point is when Hayes confronted Garcia about his comments in front of City Councilwomen Brenda Hughes and Kim Clarkson.
The battle over the election has been a curious fight championed by Garcia and former City Councilman George Baroody, who seem to ignore the executive actions of Gov. Greg Abbott postponing the municipal elections in 2020 due to the coronavirus pandemic.
While it's true the city's charter says two years for a term, the uniqueness of Abbott's emergency actions may nullify the city charter in this case, at least according to past guidance handed to other cities from Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton. Round Rock's City Council tried something similar, arguing a point about the city's charter requirement for two-year terms. While there are differences between the Kerrville situation and Round Rock, Paxton made it clear they had to hold their election in November and then return to the May date generally used by cities in Texas.
Garcia's claims also omit that Blackburn will have served four years on the City Council in May, but the extension would grant him an additional six months of unelected service. The same would hold for Judy Eychner, currently the Place 3 City Councilwoman. The only Council member to have a shortened term would be Hughes.
Other items of consideration at Tuesday's City Council meeting:
- The Texas Department of Transportation wants to lower the speed limit along Bandera Highway or Texas Highway 173 at the Loop 534 intersection to near the entrance of Commanche Trace — approximately 1.5 miles — to 50 MPH. Speeding in this zone could lead to a $200 fine.
- The City Council will likely approve a mid-year budget amendment that would give 5% cost of living adjustments to all city employees, along with boosting pay for employees in hard-to-fill jobs, including the city's paramedics. The total expense is about $750,000. Better-than-expected tax revenues have buoyed the city budget.
Ross Rommel's cookout draws a holy visitor
Ross Rommel cooks up hamburgers on Sunday at the Doyle School Community Center.
Along with several men from the congregation of St. Peter's Episcopal Church, Ross Rommel has cooked hamburgers — for free — at the Doyle School Community Center for more than a year — twice a month on Sundays. On Sunday, the men were busier than usual and had a special guest — Rev. Rayford High and his wife, Ann, were guests. High is the assistant bishop of the West Texas Episcopal Diocese, and he was visiting St. Peter's pastor Rev. Bert Baetz before stopping by to see the burger operation.
Rommel, a Houston attorney, is involved in St. Peter's is on the board at Schreiner University and is a big fan of cooking for those who want a hamburger. He funds the cookouts with his own money. Donning goggles and a long oven mitt — he's burned most of the hair off his right arm — Rommel was cooking up a storm on Sunday — much to the delight of High.
"It means everything because this is taking Christ's words to feed the hungry and to give respect and dignity to every human being," said High, who enthusiastically snapped photos of Rommel's work. "That's what this is about. The men and the women who are a part of this are here because they love God's children regardless of who they are and at what station in life they're in."
As High spoke with The Lead, the volunteers hurriedly took drive-up orders, and Rommel was feverishly cooking — as he does on the first and third Sunday of each month from noon to 2 p.m.
The Hill Country Quilt Guild Winter Show was huge
This quilt by Kathy Lee Hakala was named "Spirit of The Hill Country" winner.
The biggest event over the weekend had to be the Hill Country Quilt Guild winter show at Happy State Bank Expo Hall at the Hill Country Youth Event Center.
On Friday morning, the event space was jam-packed with visitors — primarily women — who crammed in to see the more than 250 quilts on display and chat with the vendors.
The crowd was so good that some of the vendors were selling out of merchandise. And when the attendees left the show, they seemed to all head over to Rails restaurant, where more than 300 ordered lunch.
Back at the expo hall, the "Scissor Man" was swamped with requests to sharpen knives and scissors.
"It's been great," said Hayward Irwin, also known as the "Scissor Man." "So many quilt shows have been canceled, a lot of people need to have their stuff sharpened."
Irwin had suffered one cut by Saturday, but he was working through the pain because of a backlog.
Next to him was woodworker Sidney Spencer and he nearly sold out of his handmade lazy susans, which required his assistant to run back to his shop.
"I'm having to have some more product brought in," said Spencer, who ran into a similar crush during last year's Texas Arts and Crafts Show in Ingram.
But, of course, the real attraction was the quilts, and they did not disappoint.
Take a look at our photos from the show: https://thekerrcountyleadphotography.zenfoliosite.com/zg/2022-hill-country-quilt-guild-winter-show–day-1
Some of the best Instagram posts from the weekend
View more on Instagram.
Sunday funday with this cutie @wall.e_o9 thank you dad for clearing out the branches so we could camp here �…
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#sea_scout_ship_830 #seascoutship830 #seascout
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