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The Lead Feb. 28, 2022: We are on the eve of primary Tuesday, and a Mardi Gras party!

Voters head to the polls on Tuesday, and the Republican primary for Pct. 2 commissioner is hard to read.

Good morning, Kerr County.

We're looking forward to a spectacular week of warm, almost Spring-like, weather this week. Today's high should be about 70, and we can expect much of the same throughout the week — culminating in 80 degrees on Saturday. Bring it.

Today on The Lead Live!

District Clerk candidate Francisco "Frank" Galvan will join us to make his final campaign pitch before Tuesday's Republican primary election. Galvan is running against Dawn Lantz in the primary election. We'll also discuss some of the big stories from last week, including the revelation that a Kerrville couple asked Kerrville Independent School District's board of trustees to remove 17 books from the district's library at Hal Peterson Middle School.

If you missed Friday's show

We recommend a re-watch of Friday's The Lead Live, hosted by Andrew Gay, who interviewed Kerr County legend, Irene Van Wrinkle. Born to Ukrainian immigrants after World War II, Van Winkle participated in pro-Ukraine demonstrations last week. He watched in horror as Russia attempted to occupy the nation. Watch it here:


Looking ahead to Tuesday

How Tuesday's primary election will play out in the race for Precinct 2, Commissioner will be the one we will watch the most closely because we have no feel for how it will turn out. Candidate Sonya Hooten picked up a key endorsement from former Pct. 2 Commissioner Tom Moser. Rich Paces has the backing of ultra-conservative groups. One of the things to watch is how Kerr County voters react to a woman on the ballot and are they ready to elect a woman to the court? During the 2020 primary, 40% of Kerr County Republicans voted for an unqualified man for the Texas State School Board — over two well-qualified women. Hooten, Paces and Stan Kubenka all seem to have few differences in their views. The only unknown is former Kerrville Mayor Jack Pratt, who sat out interviews and forums. Pratt has spent money in The Kerrville Daily Times and the Hill Country Community Journal.

What about the turnout?

Well, the early numbers are not encouraging when it comes to voter participation. Roughly 10% of the county's registered voters stopped by the Hill Country Youth Event Center or the Ingram Independent School District to cast early votes. Don't be surprised if overall turnout is less than 20%.

What about the state races?

There's an expectation that Gov. Greg Abbott will easily win the Republican primary on Tuesday — despite the challenges from the hard right. That will set up a matchup with Beto O'Rourke, expected to cruise in the Democrat primary. Polling around November's matchup between Abbott and O'Rourke shows the governor with about a 9% margin — some suggest the race is tighter.

Is the second time is a charm?

District Attorney Lucy Wilke, who represents the 216th district, will make her second attempt to get approval to hire an investigator at a higher rate than what the job previously paid.

Two weeks ago, Wilke met silence from the Kerr County Commissioner's Court over her plan to hire a veteran investigator with deep experience in Houston. Still, it required her to bypass the entry-level pay scale for an investigator — or at least comparable to what those positions pay in the sheriff's office.

This morning, Wilke will pitch her plan to the commissioners, who meet starting at 9 a.m. It's a relatively light agenda for the commissioners today, but this is a closely watched issue. The commissioners and Wilke clashed previously on a pay issue for a deputy district attorney, and in this case, Wilke has the budget to afford the higher salary. However, the issue may be with the frugality of the commissioners.

At the last meeting, Wilke made a procedural move to notify the commissioners she intended to pay outside of the standard step for the position. Commissioner Harley Belew motioned to accept Wilke's proposal, but silence met that motion. So, now Wilke will try again at 10:30 a.m. this morning.

COVID-19 Update

According to Peterson Health, COVID-19 has all but disappeared from Kerr County, and they have discontinued tracking the virus. Sunday's data from the Texas Department of State Health Services suggests that might be the case with just two confirmed cases. DSHS said a Kerr County resident died on Feb. 19 from the virus — the 13th COVID-19 death this month. At least 31 people have died from COVID-19 since Jan. 1.

Party time is Tuesday

Arcadia Live is ready to party on Tuesday. The downtown theater and event space holds its first Mardi Gras celebration, with a $25 blowout event. There's live jazz music by Jon Blondell Quintet, and partake in the raffle contest to be crowned Mardi Gras King or Queen! Nominate a friend (or yourself!) for $25, and vote using raffle tickets sold for $5, $10, $15, $20, $25 and $100 —each dollar counts for one vote. We'll tally the votes before the end of this unforgettable night! Information:

Schreiner basketball racks up plenty of awards

Schreiner University men's basketball coach Marwan Elrakawaby was named the Southern Collegiate Athletic Conference coach of the year on Saturday. It was a remarkable year for the Mountaineers, picked to finish last in the conference. The Mountaineers won a program-record 12 SCAC games and finished third. Schreiner was eliminated from the SCAC tournament on Saturday by rival Trinity. It was Elrakawaby's first coach of the year award.

Schreiner's Kamden Ross was named the conference first-year player of the year. It was a well-deserved honor for Ross, who finished the season averaging 12.3 points per game and 9.8 rebounds per game. However, Ross was dominant in SCAC play. In 11 of his last 13 games, Ross pulled down more than 10 rebounds and scored more than 10 points.

Schreiner senior standout Alex Dehoyos, who is leaving the program to attend graduate school at Dallas Baptist, was named first-team all-conference and a vote for player of the year.

The women's team received a major honor with Demauria Miles with the first-year player of the year award. Miles proved to be a streaky scorer for the Mountaineers throughout the season, and she started in 15 games during the conference.


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