It's Friday the 14th, which sounds like a good horror movie in our mind. Hey, the weather will be nice today. Go get stuff at the Kerrville Farmer's Market.
ON TODAY'S EPISODE OF THE LEAD LIVE
Today's show is our 100th episode since we relaunched on Aug. 9, and it will be a good one. We're joined by Justin Graham to discuss the Kerrville Farmer's Market. Sonya Hooten will join us to discuss her candidacy for the Precinct 2 seat on The Kerr County Commissioner's Court. Hooten, a Center Point resident, worked for more than 20 years for the Center Point School District before moving over to the Kerr County Sheriff's Office. She worked directly for Sheriff Rusty Hierholzer and current Sheriff Larry Leitha. Hooten is one of five candidates running in the Republican primary election for the seat temporarily held by Beck Gibson, who was appointed to replace retiring Tom Moser.
OUR PICTURES OF THE DAY
Golden Hour Fishing
A smoky sunset
MINIMIZING WILL MAKE IT GO AWAY (A LITTLE BIT OF COMMENTARY)
On Monday, the Kerr County Commissioner's Court — citing a need to move on — decided not to extend sick leave benefits for COVID-19 — even as the virus has surged to unprecedented levels in Kerr County. Precinct 4 Commissioner Don Harris, who said he'd had COVID twice, said there are too many other illnesses, including the flu, and it's the height of cedar season to grant extra leave.
We've mentioned this flu comparison before — this is nothing like the flu. As a reminder, according to the Texas Department of State Health Services and the Centers for Disease Control, the flu doesn't have the lethality of COVID, or the hospitalizations and probably the long-term ailments. But, yes, it's just like the flu.
It's a frustrating turn of events, especially the "just move on" part, because Kerr County is still in the early stages of the variant's push here — we are trailing the state average in infections. As we've mentioned before, the Commissioner's Court, except Judge Rob Kelly, has shown no interest in leading on this matter. Imagine if we had an ongoing disaster and the commissioners just said, "you know it's time to move on."
Now, truthfully it appears we're going to be stuck with COVID-19 for some time, along with a host of variants still to come — just like the flu. But it's a remarkable statement just to give up the fight.
BACK IN THE REAL WORLD
COVID-19's march through Texas, along with the relative silence of Gov. Greg Abbott, has drawn plenty of attention. News website VOX did a great job of highlighting the problem, especially in rural areas.
"Ideally, everybody would take this thing seriously and follow the steps that we know work, which is primarily get vaccinated and boosted, but also be smart about gatherings and wear a mask," said John Henderson, the president and CEO of the Texas Organization of Rural and Community Hospitals told VOX. "But in Texas, especially rural Texas, people have prioritized getting back to normal. On some level, I understand that. But the virus is in charge and until we get control of the virus, we can't get back to normal."
And the question today becomes, what will happen at Peterson Regional Medical Center? San Antonio area hospitalizations, including Kerr County, topped more than 800 and 57 intensive care unit beds are available. If the region runs out of beds, where will they go? Peterson Health still has to transfer the bulk of its patients to hospitals in San Antonio, where they can receive more advanced breathing treatments.
Do not be surprised if Peterson reports more than 200 new cases, but the key statistic to watch will be hospitalizations.
SCAMMERS GOTTA SCAM
One of the most exhausting things in our society are scammers — or the car warranty people. Thursday proved to be a fun-filled day with scammers causing problems. Here are two examples:
- The Kerr County Sheriff's Office said it received information that scammers call people, claiming they are a former Chief Deputy. The sheriff's office said this is a periodic scam and that people should be vigilant about anyone calling claiming to be law enforcement or government employee.
- Secondly, a friendly reminder that you should periodically change your passwords and use two-factor authentication for your social media channels. A local business suffered through that on Thursday. The scammers asked for $200, and people were ready to hand it over based on ownership credibility. Fortunately, the poorly-worded request was a red flag. Just a reminder, Facebook, Instagram and other social media outlets have stepped up their security efforts, and it's essential to check your security settings.
A DIFFERENT TYPE OF SCAM — THEFT
The Kerrville Police Department is looking for a man and a woman suspected of a September theft at Hobby Lobby and a November theft at Gibson's. Police said the suspects arrived and left in a white Ford F-150 four-door pickup with an unknown license plate. The male suspect has a three-quarters tattoo sleeve on his left arm. The first theft happened on Sept. 30 at Hobby Lobby, while the second one at Gibson's was Nov. 5.
If you have information regarding the identity of these two suspects, please contact the Kerrville Police Department at (830) 257-8181 and refer to case number 2102238.
NOW HERE'S A SKILL WE ALL NEED
Ever wanted to learn to knit? Like Harry Potter? Then at 4 p.m. today, you might want to make your way to the Butt-Holdsworth Memorial Library for a two-part knitting class inspired by the young wizard. In celebration of the 25th anniversary of the publication of "Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone," the beginning knitting class for ages 10 to 18 today and Jan. 27 at 4 p.m. in the library meeting room. Participants will learn to knit a "First Year Hogwarts House Color Hat." This pattern calls for size 10 knitting needles and two colors of worsted weight yarn. The library has yarn and knitting needles; however, if you want to guarantee you have the colors you want, we encourage you to bring your needles and yarn. Space is limited, so registration is required. For more information, call (830) 258-1274 or visit the library's website at www.kerrvilletx.gov.
SPEAKING OF STUFF TO DO, PLAN YOUR WEEKEND
Live Music by John Arthur Martinez
Southern Sky Music Cafe, Ingram
Open House at The Dietert Center
The Dietert Center, Kerrville
- Come visit Kerr County's largest center for senior citizens, along with all of the programs offered by the staff and volunteers. https://dietertcenter.org
Live music by Joe & Gino
Cafe at the Ridge, Kerrville
Live music by Bill Blankenship
Southern Sky Music Cafe, Ingram
Stand-up Comedy at Babez Seafood Bucket
Babez Seafood Bucket, Kerrville
- Stand-Up Comedy show starring Daryl Felsberg, featuring Brandon Davidson. Victor Gonzalez hosts this night of laughs.
Sunday, Jan. 16
Turtle Creek Olives and Vines
- Kerrville's Turtle Creek Olives and Vines will be taking a sophisticated look into small-batch, unique Cabernet-based offerings. With selections by our sommelier, Andre Boada, three wine bar stations will feature small bites paired perfectly with the wines.
The Kingston Trio
Cailloux Theater, Kerrville
- The Kingston Trio, the biggest name in the history of folk music, Billboard Magazine's "Lifetime Achievement Award" winners, members of the Hit Parade Hall of Fame, The Vocal Group Hall of Fame and four-time "Grammy" Award winners, will be in Kerrville for one show only.
IN CASE YOU MISSED IT
Earlier this week, we interviewed Precinct 2 candidates Stan Kubneka and Rich Paces about why they're running for the seat. You can watch or listen to the interviews, along with reading our three things to know about the candidates here:
CENSUS STUDY ON COMMUNITY RESILIENCE
A study by the U.S. Census Bureau found that at least 30% of Kerr County's population faces resiliency challenges. The study, which originated in 2020, wanted to examine the risk factors facing communities when it came to being resilient.
The Census Bureau said anyone with three-or-more risks would be vulnerable to recovering in the face of a disaster or another pandemic. Based on the 2019 American Community Survey, two of Kerr County's contributing factors are the aging population and many without health insurance.
In Kerr County, 27% of the population is 65 and over, while another 16% has no health insurance — a consistent problem in Texas. When the 2020 Census results are fully realized, Kerr County is expected to see increases in its over 65 population — 29% — and uninsured will rise to 23.8%. Another factor is those with disabilities under 65, accounting for 11.9% of Kerr County residents.
The Census Bureau defines these at-risk categories as:
- Income-to-Poverty Ratio (IPR) < 130 percent (Household).
- Single or zero caregiver household – only one or no individuals living in the household who are 18-64 (Household).
- Unit-level crowding with >= 0.75 persons per room (Household).
- No one in the household has received a high school diploma.
- No one in the household speaks English "very well."
- Aged 65 years or older.
- No one in the household is employed full-time, year-round. The flag is not applied if all residents of the household are aged 65 years or older (Household).
- Disability, at least one serious constraint to significant life activity.
- No health insurance coverage.
- No vehicle access (Household), 3% of Kerr County residents.
- Households without broadband internet access (Household).
The study said Texas had 81 counties among the top 550 counties in the nation with concerns about social vulnerability.