Good morning Kerr County!
Today's read is 1,700 words and seven minutes of reading time! We hit 101 on Wednesday, but today will be a smidge cooler — 98. That's going to the forecast through the end of the month, with no foreseeable rain in the future. Hold on, folks!
On today's The Lead Live!
This is our second Super Show but our first entirely dedicated to Health, Wellness and Beauty! We get things started at 8 a.m., and we will go to 4:30 p.m. Thanks to Pint and Plow Brewing Co. for hosting and Cartewheels Catering for our guests' treats. Here's the lineup:
- 8:10 a.m., Russel Nemky of Kerrville Physical Therapy.
- 8:40 a.m., The Apothecary Shoppe, Kerrville's lone compounding pharmacy.
- 9:10 a.m., Fresh and Fit.
- 9:40 a.m., Karina Alvarado of Big Game Training.
- 10:10 a.m., Peterson Health's Hannah Shoemaker discusses "Falls Prevention" and other Peterson Health rehab services.
- 10:40 a.m., Peterson's Health's Kelly Ellis discusses "Back to Life" Total Joint Replacement program and other orthopedic services.
- 11:10 a.m., Peterson Health's Tim Rye "New Physicians and Current Comprehensive Services" from Peterson Medical Associates ( Meeting the Needs of our Region!).
- 11:40 a.m., Kelly Barker of Precision Dermatology.
- 12:10 p.m., Renewed Pathways.
- 12:40 p.m., StretchZone Kerrville.
- 1:10 p.m., MHDD
- 1:40 p.m., Jim Motheral of Redox
- 2:10 p.m., Amber Thomason of State Farm Insurance.
- 2:40 p.m., Danielle Monclava of Sante Research.
- 3:10 p.m., Kathryn Dover of Uniquely Kind Yoga.
- 3:40 p.m., Kerrville's Center for Fitness.
- 4:10 p.m., Attainable Fitness!
Look for our coverage of the event later this week as we provide articles and video from each of our segments. Watch live at https://facebook.com/kerrcountylead
Today's newsletter is sponsored by
The Texas Hill Country is one of the most beautiful places on earth. In this podcast, Hill Country resident Tom Fox visits the people and organizations that make this the most unique area of Texas. Listen to his podcasts here: The Hill Country Podcast
Science and Nature
- Nature Nights — Riverside Nature Center, 6 p.m. Information: 830-257-4837 The details: Nature Jeopardy.
Games and fun
- Thirsty Thursday Trivia Night — Arcadia Live, 5 p.m. Information: https://www.thearcadialive.org/calendar/
The kids showed up to express their parks opinions
When it comes to what some people want from Singing Wind Park in Kerrville, one group stands out — skaters.
During a public input meeting about the park's future, skateboarders showed up at the Dietert Center, expressed their opinion about improving the skateboard park, and then slipped quietly away.
The meeting, hosted by the Kerrville Parks and Recreation Department, addressed priorities for the park's future usage, including converting baseball fields to an expanded dog park and how the city's aging Olympic Pool plays a role.
Led by Malcolm Matthews, a former parks leader in Kerrville and San Antonio, the focus was on improving many of the park's existing attributes, including hiking trails.
A nice crowd showed up at the Dietert Center on Wednesday night to share their ideas about the future of Singing Wind Park.
The audience of about 50 people identified what they saw as priorities, but the skaters stood out. They filled up the areas dedicated to the skate park improvements. Carrying their skateboards, they promptly left, but their presence was significant.
"I was glad to see them here," Kerrville City Councilwoman Kim Clarkson said.
During an initial scoping session of all of Kerrville's park needs, the community participants identified Singing Wind as the biggest opportunity for improvement. Matthews noted the park's size and adjacency to residential neighborhoods, along with Tivy High School and Hal Peterson Middle School, made the park an essential asset to that part of the community.
Just some of the areas residents were asked to consider included:
- Improving trails and habitat in the expansive park.
- Improving the overall front appearance of the park.
- Adding a dog park.
- Adding pickle ball or tennis courts.
- Adding WI-FI and other amenities.
- Connecting Singing Wind to the Guadalupe River Trail through Schreiner University.
The pool, however, is the one project that no one seems quite sure how to handle. Before the coronavirus pandemic, the costs to improve the pool ranged from $5 million to nearly $30 million, depending on the city's direction. Parks and Recreation Director Ashlea Boyle said the city tabled the discussion for now.
Speaking of the Olympic Pool
Pictured from left are Jesus Guzman, Ethan Leija, Rosa Ledesma (coach), Bailee Boggess
Kerrville's competitive lifeguard team, "Kerr Villains", competed at the Central Texas Lifeguard Competition in New Braunfels, Texas. The team walked away with multiple awards, including:
- Second place in the Cardio Pulmonary Resuscitation (CPR) scenario.
- Third place in First Aid.
- And a third place overall finish at the competition.
The regional qualifier competition is the first step for teams to earn a spot at the State Lifeguard Championships to be held in Brenham, Texas on Aug. 1. At the regional competition, the Kerr Villains competed against nine other teams in three unknown scenario events.
In addition to the scenarios, the judges nominated a top male and top female contestant out of all the competitors who showed exceptional skills. This honor went to Kerr Villains team members Jesus Guzman and Bailee Boggess.
"The team put in a lot of work and effort into sharpening their skills," Kerrville Parks and Recreation Manager Rosa Ledesma said. "We train hard, and their efforts paid off this week. I am proud of each member of the team and we look forward to working even harder to represent Kerrville well at the State competition."
COVID-19 is still here and running amok
With the start of school less than a month away, the latest variant of COVID-19 is proving to be a handful, especially on the pediatric side. More than 180 children are in Texas hospitals with the virus.
Thousands of people are testing positive for the BA.5 variant of omicron, waylaying children and adults. Here in Kerr County, it's unclear how many children and adults tested positive, but it's likely an undercount.
When school started last year, independent school districts across Texas were hit hard by absences. On Monday, Kerrville Independent School District said its 2021-2022 attendance fell to 91% — typically, it's 95%. KISD had more than 600 students test positive last year — about 12% of the student population. Ingram ISD had nearly a quarter of its students test positive. Center Point saw 30% of its students test positive.
One of the reasons we know the virus is problematic is Peterson Regional Medical Center's submitted to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Through July 8, Peterson had hospital admissions in at least six age demographics, including those 20-25.
Random thoughts on a Thursday
- You know you might have a problem paying employees when you say we can't match the $13 an hour offered to start at Taco Casa. That's what Kerrville Independent School District officials said on Monday.
- KISD said it was considering a school marshall program — one urged by parents — in the wake of the Uvalde shooting. The program is in place in other school districts, including Ingram. KISD will add two new school resource officers through a partnership with Kerrville Police Department. KISD will shoulder some of the equipment costs for two of the officers.
- How bad is the national teacher shortage? Memphis, Tenn. had 200 teacher positions to fill before school starts in three weeks.
- The Kerr County Commissioners Court is facing a $7 million deficit. They can't cut their way out of that. And before you knew it, Monday, they seemed to suggest that with payments to the airport — a potentially significant economic driver for the region.
- We are asking our readers to consider two surveys about controversial topics — marriage equality and short-term rentals. The short-term rental debate has really taken off, with dozens of comments on our Facebook page. We posted the survey ahead of Monday's town hall meeting about defining how the city should deal with the issue. As of Wednesday night, about 71% of respondents said there should not be a moratorium on short-term rentals, but after that, there were tighter debates about where to put them. On the question of gay marriage, most respondents said they support it, and opposed rolling back interracial marriage and contraception protections.
- The Houston Chronicle pointed out that Gov. Greg Abbott didn't attend any of the funerals for those killed in Uvalde. A new political action group opposed to Abbott is calling itself Mother Against Greg Abbott — or MAGA.
- While Abbott is under re-election fire, Texas U.S. Rep. Vincente Gonzalez, a Democrat, is running for cover after stupidly hiring a blogger to attack his opponent Republican Rep. Mayra Flores. The blogger called her "Miss Frijoles," enraging Latino activists and giving Republicans more ammunition to paint Democrats as racist, especially in the wake of First Lady Jill Biden's taco remark in San Antonio. Flores and Gonzales are competing to win Texas' 34th Congressional District.
Kerrville housing market is marked by short supply, high prices and a race to make an offer
"Last time, if you could fog a mirror, you could get a mortgage, no problem. Bad loans tanked the market." Janelle Peralt, real estate agent.
The housing market is tight — spectacularly tight.
As of 2 p.m. on Tuesday, there are about 60 homes available to purchase in Kerr County — that's it. More than half top $400,000. Real estate agents don't quite agree that the inventory is that low, but consumer-facing websites paint a grim picture of limited inventory. Of course, the number of homes fluctuates, but it remains tight.
"Prices, however, are not going to budget," Kerr Economic Development Corp. Executive Director Gil Salinas said. "Higher interest rates will soften demand up by a little bit, but ultimately supply is still relatively low."
Want to rent? Good luck there. For an Aug. 1 move-in, eight properties are available, with one-bedroom apartments starting at $900 per month.
And Kerrville can't build houses fast enough. Even if there's a question about the numbers, real estate agents agree that inventory is low, moves fast, and the lower-cost housing needs work.
"A lot of little homes with 'potential' that need 'vision' and 'love' — but at a cost, which then translates to buyers," said real estate agent Geri Magnell, who has worked in Kerrville real estate for 16 years. "It's definitely the hardest market I've seen for working-class folks."
Veteran real estate agent Janelle Peralt said the market frenzy reminds her of 2006-2007, without a perilous crash lurking.
"I think it will flatten out," Peralt said. "Last time, if you could fog a mirror, you could get a mortgage, no problem. Bad loans tanked the market."
Now, it's just expensive and with no end in sight.
However, here's a snapshot of what's available in the market:
Up to $250,000
There are just six properties in this category, and a lot of them are like 413 W. Water St., listed at $180,000 but needs extensive work. This three-bedroom, one-bathroom would require a complete rehab and possible demolition of the detached garage/shack. And, by the way, cash only.
This home at 1611 Deer Trail is a well-maintained three-bedroom, two-bath home near Singing Wind Park and the Olympic swimming pool. The home is 1,574 square feet. The roof was replaced in 2016, the water heater in 2018, and the electrical box in 2020. The asking price is $274,750
This tiny home at 334 Main Street in Kerrville is a remodeled cottage-style, with two bedrooms and one bathroom. It's 957 square feet on an 8,712 square foot lot. The real estate agent writes: "With these looks, this would make an attractive investment or homestead. From ground to roof, including the garage, everything has been replaced or upgraded."
This home at 1309 Cedar Drive is a spacious loft with two bedrooms, 2 1/2 baths, a lovely kitchen featuring granite countertops, an open concept family room, a cozy fireplace and high ceilings. It's just $439,000 for 1,713 square feet.
Outside of the city limits, meaning no city taxes for public safety, the home at 381 Stone Ridge offers four bedrooms and two bedrooms. It's on an acre, and the house is 2,016 square feet. Asking price? How about $579,900.
A beauty in Tierra Linda is how they describe this 2,642-square foot home on 6.13 acres. Located at 170 Indian Springs Trail with three bedrooms, two full bathrooms and a powder room. The price is $649,900.
$901,000 and above
You can say one thing about this four-bedroom home in Ingram — it's solid as a rock. Yes, it's a custom-built rock house. The 144 Oak Hampton Trail home is part of the gated Cypress Springs Estate. It's on a 2.19-acre parcel, and the home is 4,406 square feet. The price is just $1.5 million.