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The Lead Jan. 20, 2022: What do North Dakota, Kerrville have in common? More than you think

That's the story we were told during an interview on Wednesday.

Good morning.

It's cold. Great.

About the weather

By our tone, you may have guessed; we're not the biggest fan of the cold weather — nope. For those of you who like wearing layers and earmuffs, well, today will suit you just fine. The high will be 34 degrees. The National Weather Service says there's a 50% chance of "wintry mix." For the uninformed — that's freezing water and pretty stuff coming out of the sky. However, the Weather Channel casts doubt on the 50% chance thing, countering there's a 7% chance. We'll see.

On today's The Lead Live

Our host today is Delayne Sigerman, and she'll chat with Rails Restaurant Melissa Southern about her business, including the launch of their new Qdoba franchise near Interstate 10 on Sidney Baker Street.


Coming Friday on The Lead Live

Wild Birds Unlimited owner Kevin Pillow'll join us to discuss what's going on with bird watching, especially with the recent spell of warm weather. We'll also ask him about the basics of building a good bird feeding. We'll also receive a visit from Ashley Phillips of the Hill Country Youth Ranch. She may or not storm in angrily.

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What we're tracking today

Texas Workforce Commission Chairman Bryan Daniel will give a keynote speech today at Schreiner University as part of the Kerr Economic Development Corp.'s Q1 Industry and Inclusion Series.

This morning Daniel and KEDC will lead a presentation of a $188,000 grant to Ingram Tom Moore High School's vocational program on Thursday morning. The Jobs and Education for Texans grant will help broaden the school's vocational and technical programs.

City Council race filing

Zip. Nada. Nothing.

Day one of filing for the Kerrville City Council and mayor's races resulted in no one filing. Yup. They have until Feb. 18 to file their applications.

What happened with COVID-19 on Wednesday?

Peterson Health said 28 people were hospitalized, including seven in intensive care. At least 213 people tested positive during a two-day stretch, according to Peterson. The Texas Department of State Health Services says 201 people tested positive from Kerr County since Monday, but no one has an accurate idea of the actual number of active cases.

Today's stuff to do

Hill Country Grandstand Livestock Show

Hill Country Youth Event Center

8 a.m.

If you're into pigs, this is your place to be. This is the last day of the first Grandstand Livestock show before the critters head to auction on Friday in Fredericksburg.

Join the Book Club

Butt-Holdsworth Memorial Library


The Butt-Holdsworth Memorial Library is excited to introduce a mystery fiction book club. The new book club, named "Shrouded in Mystery," will meet monthly to discuss books related to the mystery fiction genre. The first meeting will be held this Thursday, Jan. 20, at noon in the library meeting room. At this initial meeting, participants will help pick titles for the coming year.

For more information, please call the library reference desk at (830) 258-1274 or visit the city's webpage at

Thirsty Thursday Trivia

Arcadia Live

6:30 p.m.

Test your knowledge on all things the 2000s. It's another trivia night and, perhaps, become the new reigning Trivia Champ Team! Beyond bragging rights, winning teams will be awarded gift cards to local restaurants.

Live music by The Resonant Rogues

Trailhead Beer Garden at Schreiner University

8 p.m. ($5 cover charge)

The Resonant Rogues' dark Appalachian folk paints a picture of their lives in the mountains of Western North Carolina and on the road. Anchored by the songwriting duo of Sparrow (banjo, accordion) and Keith Smith (guitar), the duo has traveled the byways and highways of America and crossed the oceans with instruments in tow. From riding freight trains to building their homestead, the pair are no strangers to blazing unconventional trails. At once rooted and adventurous, each song tells a story of authentic experiences, friendships, and challenges.

What do North Dakota and Kerrville have in common?

Bismarck, N.D. Mayor Steve Bakken was visiting Kerrville on Wednesday.

We wondered the same thing when Kerr Economic Development Corp. Executive Director Gil Salinas asked us to consider having the mayor of Bismark, N.D. on our weekday webcast, The Lead Live, but we're glad we agreed.

Well, the truth is it's more than you would think, especially as North Dakota-based Killdeer Mountain Manufacturing begins ramping up production of its avionic parts in the months to come.

However, Bismarck Mayor Steve Bakken sees it as a relationship with deeper ties than Killdeer Mountain Manufacturing.

"There's a lot of synergies between Western North Dakota and Hill Country in West Texas because of the energy side of things," Bakken said. "So, reinforcing those relationships and North Dakota's had a long standing relationship with the Kerrville area. Schreiner University is partnered up with some programming with the University of North Dakota. Okay. They've got a relationship with North Dakota State University. Mooney aircraft was the go-to aircraft for the University of North Dakota Aviation Program for many years."

Bakken was in Kerrville this week, at the invitation of Kristen Hedger, Killdeer's vice president, who splits time between Kerrville and North Dakota, to have further conversations about how the two regions can work together.

Not only has Bakken spent time with Hedger and Salinas, but he's had extensive conversations with Mayor Bill Blackburn about economic development.

The best way to describe this is as a future of sending people between the two areas — to work and live. Or better yet, at least making the introductions.

Kerrville is already welcoming North Dakotans making their way here to work for Killdeer. Bakken said Texas and other oil-producing regions headed north to work in North Dakota's burgeoning shale oil fields. Like Texas, North Dakota suffers through the boom and the bust of oil, making diversification so important.

"It's where we have communities that are out in the oil patch that have an opportunity for growth," Bakken said. "It's in the production and the maintenance side. So, it's that long term, and we've had a lot of people move into Western North Dakota with their families because of the quality of life that they see there and raise families."

For Mayor Blackburn, the challenge for Kerrville is similar to Bismarck's — retaining talent.

"We're already short of labor," Blackburn said. "We have had a shallow labor pool in Kerrville forever. But yeah, it is pretty pronounced now."

And it's the exchange of ideas that both mayors say will help their cities thrive. Of course, in the case of Kerrville and Bismarck, the connection to Killdeer doesn't hurt.

Blackburn said Killdeer's presence has already boosted technical programs at Tivy High School, and the Texas Workforce Commission is awarding a $188,000 grant to Ingram Tom Moore High School.

"What can we do to to increase the workforce and keeping more of those young people in the area?" Blackburn said. "We've got to get more Tivy graduates that say, hey, I can stay here and get a good job."

For now, working together is one way both mayors think they can do that — no matter the distance.

To watch the full interview with Bakken and Blackburn click here:

Or listen to the podcast:–Jan–19–2022-e1d66jk

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