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The Lead July 20, 2022: Is marriage equality debate a distraction from inflation? Chip Roy thinks it is

The Texas congressman, who represents Kerr County, argues that Democrats are deflecting.

Good morning, Kerr County!

The National Weather Service had dangerous heat warnings and advisories for most of Texas as temperatures continued to soar. We can expect another day of 100-degree heat today. Tuesday's high hit 100 degrees at 3:30 p.m., and it stayed warm the rest of the day. Stay cool out there today.

On today's The Lead Live!

The Kerrville Area Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Brad Barnett will update us about the upcoming Business Expo next month and other Chamber of Commerce projects. We get an update from Leslie Jones about weekend events. Join us at 9 a.m.

Today's events!

The Kerrville Convention and Visitor's Bureau's Julie Davis tells us all about the events this week!

Today's events

Markets and Sales

  • Friends of the Library Book Sale — Butt-Holdsworth Memorial Library, 1–3 p.m. Information: The details: Looking for a great read? Or better yet, come down and support the work of Friends of the Library. Maybe find a banned book? That sounds like a fun day to us.
  • Kerr County Produce Market Day — The Big Red Barn, 10 a.m., Information: 830-896-7330 The details: Kerr County Produce Market Day (The Big Red Barn). Local Hill Country wholesale warehouse distributor for the finest fruits and vegetables. Open to the public.

Roy argues marriage equality debate is just a deflection from inflation

The U.S. House of Representatives voted to codify protecting gay and interracial marriage on Tuesday, but 157 Republicans voted against the measure, including Rep. Chip Roy, who represents Kerr County. Roy said Democrats were trying to distract from inflation concerns and said trying to tie the Supreme Court's overturning of Roe vs. Wade has nothing to do with marriage equality. Roy also said Democrats were trying to connect Justice Clarence Thomas' questioning of the previous court decisions about marriage as one not held by the court's conservative majority.

See @atrupar's post on Twitter.

However, Liberals argued that under oath, the last three Supreme Court justices argued that Roe v. Wade was settled law and still overturned it.

Water is on the minds of the Kerrville City Council

The Kerrville City Council is going through the preparation for the 2022-2023 fiscal year budget, and one thing is clear — water rates will have to increase.

While the city's water budget is balanced, it's clear the city could find itself in trouble because of the department's capital facilities needs. Most likely, the City Council will have to approve about 5.5% increases to the base rates for water and sewer to catch up on its capital facilities funding.

It was a situation that alarmed City Councilmember Kim Clarkson, who repeatedly touched on the point that the water fund's capital budget was perilous.

The City Council spent two hours on Tuesday going over its water fund, hotel occupancy tax and some other grant programs for public safety. It's just one step in approving a city budget in the coming months.

The water budget was a conflated campaign issue earlier this year, when challenging City Council candidates tried to tie the water fund's debt service to a general state of civic indebtedness. The water fund's debt service, which pays for larger-scale water and sewer projects, is about 29% of the fund's expenses. However, the city's ratepayers help service that debt.

City Manager E.A. Hoppe pointed out that Kerrville's water and sewer rates are among the lowest in this part of Texas. He emphasized the complexity of the city's terrain regarding water service. Kerrville requires numerous lift stations and pumps to move water. During a presentation, a single lift station pump is about $90,000 to replace.

City Finance Director Julie Behrens also cautioned that the city must evaluate aging water pipes and other infrastructure. Behrens reminded the City Council that Odessa lost water for 48 hours last month due to the rupture of an aging pipeline.

Tivy Commons project attracts plenty of opinions

On Tuesday, The Lead wrote about the impending Tivy Commons project slated for the old Tivy High/Hal Peterson Middle School campus on Sidney Baker Street. The 25-acre site will be cleared and made ready for a 25-acre mixed-use development.

We turned to our Facebook crowd to ask what they thought about the site's future, and they turned in a LOT of ideas. More than 200 responded. Here are some of the ideas:

  • Ashley Foster Cox: "A jump place or something for toddlers!! Bowling, skating rink, a bigger arcade/indoor entertainment for kids and families!"
  • Kay Ann Saunders Schmidt: T.J. Max or Marshall's. Yes, a Target would be great!
  • Melissa Muse: "A pet friendly, affordable tiny house community."
  • Lorie Hager: "We are not large enough for Target. Olive Garden is usually only built in cities with large airport. These units will be leased out to the highest bidder."
  • Lucy Wilke: "How about a mini Pearl like the one in SA?! An upscale boutique hotel, unique shops, coffee shop, bookstore, outdoor area to sit and read or eat, non-chain restaurants and some family friendly stuff such as bowling, splash pad, indoor trampoline park, etc. Much like the Pearl in SA! Have farmer's markets there and other events, like The Pearl does! No Target, no Olive Garden, no Academy, no cheap stuff — we have a WalMart for that already. Maybe even include a food truck area!"
  • Dave Moser: Olive Garden and Red Lobster. We need a good seafood restaurant and an Italian restaurant.
  • Miles Pitman: "Here's a thought, let's build Nothing and rehabilitate the soil, reintroduce life , reestablish plant vitality, replant trees and other edible native plants, reinvigorate the land with gardens that will feed people in our community who can't afford a chain restaurant. Let's step outside of ourselves and consider other possibilities. If we absolutely have to build something, how about some sustainable, affordable housing with a health-minded restaurant or cafe at the bottom and garden space on the roof. It is a chance for creativity. We have to ask different kinds of questions if we want to create a new design for the future.
  • Jennifer Wise: "Skating rink and bowling alley."
  • Laurinda Boyd: "We need activities for youth! Please think of the kids!"

Keeping the Guadalupe River beautiful is vital

The 19th annual Upper Guadalupe River Authority cleanup is Saturday at Flat Rock Park, and there's no doubt volunteers will find some weird (if not troubling) stuff dumped in the river.

UGRA said volunteers should go to Flat Rock Park at 8 a.m. for registration, instructions and assignments if they did not register online. Volunteers will then fan out to begin cleaning the river.

UGRA offers the following suggestions:

  • Wear a hat and lightweight clothing to guard against the heat.
  • Drink plenty of water to stay hydrated.
  • Wear leather work gloves.
  • UGRA will have a limited quantity of work gloves available for volunteers to borrow, but please bring your own if you can.
  • Wear clothing and shoes that are appropriate for getting wet and dirty. Also, protect yourself from the sun and bugs by applying sunscreen and insect repellent.
  • Bring your own chairs, picnic blankets, or popup tents for relaxing during the event wrap-up and prize raffle.

Volunteers should return to Flat Rock Park with their trash by 11 a.m. for refreshments and the distribution of awards for the most unusual item and the biggest item. Additional garbage drop-off locations will be at Louise Hays Park, Guadalupe Park and the Center Point Dam.

There's a raffle for all participants. The first 300 registered volunteers will receive an official 19th Annual River Clean Up T-shirt.

For more information: Matt Wilkinson at (830) 896-5456, ext. 235 or


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