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The Lead July 25, 2022: Guadalupe River cleanup snatches up some sharp, colorful objects

More than 400 volunteers fanned out to clean up the river.

Good morning, Kerr County!

We wrap up July, heading to August and the start of school! Can you believe that summer is over? Well, summer strongly disagrees with that fantasy. The 10-day forecast, depending on your source, says morning clouds followed by high 90s. It's a trend we're used to by now. July is likely to finish with less than an inch of rain. The last time we were below 90? How about June 28. Here's the forecast:

On today's The Lead Live!

Texas Hill Country Advisors Andrew Gay and Gilbert Paiz will update us about the latest in the financial markets, share their latest podcast lessons and chat about their upcoming seminars. We've learned that our co-host Leslie Jones is stuck at the Kerrville Convention and Visitor Bureau, but that's not going to stop us from having her on the show. Join us at 9 a.m.

Events today and Tuesday!


Public meetings

  • Kerr County Commissioner's Court — Kerr County Courthouse, 9 a.m.
  • Short-term rental town hall — Dietert Center, 6 p.m. The details: Residents can provide feedback on potential changes to Kerrville's ordinances regarding short-term rentals.


  • 2022 Warhammer 40K Crusade League — Heart of Cards, 3 p.m. Information: The details: Free event.

Tuesday, July 26

Public meetings

  • Kerrville City Council workshop — Kerrville City Hall, 4 p.m.
  • Kerrville City Council meeting — Kerrville City Hall, 6 p.m.


  • Heart of the Hills Tournament — Scott Schreiner Golf Course, TBD, through Friday. Information: The details: One of the most prestigious amateur-level golf tournaments contested in Texas is the annual Heart of the Hills Golf Tournament. Scott Schreiner Golf Course hosts this annual event.

Free Movie

  • "Encanto" — Butt-Holdsworth Memorial Library, 11 a.m. Information: 830-257-8422. The details: You will have a song stuck in your head for days.

For more events visit:

To download and print the events:

Today's newsletter is presented 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

Today is the day for short-term rental conversations!

The Kerrville City Council is ready for an expected flood of opinions when it comes to the future of short-term rentals — you know, the vacation rentals that frequently land in residential neighborhoods.

At 6 p.m. tonight, the City Council will host a town hall meeting at the Dietert Center about the short-term rental issue, with the city staff leading off with a presentation. From 6:30 p.m., city staff will collect input from residents, but at 7 p.m., the public comments will take over the meeting. The City Council is limiting those comments to three minutes.

What will people discuss? We suspect there will be a lot of comments about who is telling the truth about the issue. The city staff will present information about the current process, how it came up with the standards and other land use definitions.

  • Zoning
  • Conditional Use Permits
  • Definitions
  • Authorized districts under the Land Use Table
  • Density and distances from each short-term rental

The issue is hot, as witnessed last week when we posed a question to our Facebook followers. Here are samples we received:

  • Laurie Lanier wrote, "I feel very safe walking my dogs in my neighborhood at any time of day because I know so many of my neighbors and we keep an eye out for each other. I do understand people wanting to do what they want with their property, but we live in neighborhoods and not hotel/resort complexes for a reason. And there are places like Jellystone Park that rent out multi-bedroom cabins for families."
  • Kathy Ferris McKaskle wrote, "As a former Airbnb host I'm obviously In favor to a point. I rented a single room out of my home with very strict guidelines and my neighbors never had a problem with it."
  • Mark Howard wrote, "We tried to move to Kerrville, but there was no affordable housing for families. Not even enough three bedroom apartments. I think that is the place to start."
  • Ronnie Hodges wrote, "not that I want Kerrville to be like Fredericksburg. But it would help the city to get more visitors to our area. Visitors spend money and bring life to our city. Our available hotel inventory is dated."

And we've been following the idea nationally, here are recent stories to show how widespread the issue is:

Kerr County Sheriff investigates Ingram Dam drowning

The Kerr County Sheriff's Office said a 35-year-old man drowned July 20 at Ingram Dam, and deputies are investigating the circumstances.

Deputies said Justin Ray Gamez, 35, had been involved in a disturbance with a member (or members) of a group before going into the water alone.

A few minutes later, pair of teenage boys noticed Gamez in distress and attempted to rescue him. After being brought ashore, bystanders administered CPR to Gamez until paramedics arrived. Gamez was pronounced dead at Peterson Regional Medical Center.

When deputies arrived at the scene, they encountered many intoxicated people in a large group. Investigators have reason to

believe that alcohol may have played a role in this drowning.

"We would like to remind the public that water safety should always be top of mind when enjoying rivers, creeks, lakes, and even private pools," Kerr County Sheriff Larry Leitha said. "The blend of alcohol, soaring heat, and sun exposure can quickly create dangerous situations."

Just a reminder about a significant road closure

Motorists should plan a new route to Kerrville's Post Office and other Cully Drive businesses when the roadway is closed today for approximately a month of maintenance work.

Cully Drive will be closed between Thompson and Hill Country Drives, with extensive drainage and repair work at the Thompson intersection. The city said customers of The Wash Tub should enter from Thompson Drive, while postal customers and those of a veterinary hospital and other businesses must follow detour signs.

This project is part of the annual paving maintenance plan approved by the City Council. It will last until approximately Aug. 26. For more information, contact Street Division Manager Joel Meyners at (830) 258-1222 or Assistant Street Division Manager Brandon Kelly at (830) 739-3792.

The Kerr County Commissioner's Court meets

The always fun Kerr County Commissioners Court meets this morning, and they will consider adopting Juneteenth as a formal county holiday. While Juneteenth is rooted in Texas history, President Joe Biden made it a federal holiday last year. Now comes the part where the commissioners add it to the official holiday calendar — meaning a paid day off for county employees. For the unaware, Juneteenth marks the day enslaved people in Galveston received news on June 19, 1865, that they were free and that the Civil War at an end.

River cleanup produces sharp objects

The last thing Kerrville Assistant City Attorney William Tatsch expected to find during Saturday's cleanup of the Guadalupe River was a 6-inch knife, but that was just one of many strange items found.

When he discovered the knife, Tatsch was cleaning along the river on Louise Hays Park's Tranquility Island. Some of his city of Kerrville colleagues found a slew of things like old rebar or tires.

More than 400 volunteers fanned out across the river areas of Kerr County, searching for garbage and junk — they found plenty. How much? The Upper Guadalupe River Authority, which organizes the annual cleanup, will know the tonnage later Monday, but let's assume it was a lot.

"It was a whirlwind," said Matthew Wilkinson, who heads up the event for UGRA. "It was fun. I got to meet a lot of people."

UGRA's Tara Bushnoe, who previously led the cleanup organization but is now moving into the general manager role, always seems surprised by the weird, along with alarming, stuff found in the river.

Bushnoe said it's the first time she's seen a purple toilet. Yes, a purple throne seemingly fitted for the relentlessly optimistic TV character "Barney" was discovered by JAM Broadcasting Leslee and Justin McClure.

Just some of the other strange things:

  • A personal check from 1982.
  • A drive shaft.
  • There was a car stereo with cassette tape still found in it.
  • A water heater.
  • Bicycles.
  • Food.

Tatsch's knife was sent to a re-use pile, some of which will become an art piece. The art project belongs to Phyliss Garey, who takes the old junk and builds a re-use class at the Hill Country Arts Foundation in Ingram.

However, the critical part is that the community turned out in force to clean up miles of riverbank.

"It's a very good number," Wilkinson said of the 401 volunteers who registered. But the big number is still to come — how much they took out of the river.

To see more photos from the event:

It's your last weekend to see "Matilda"

We had a chance to see a portion of The Hill Country Arts Foundation's production of the Roald Dahl story "Matilda," which is adapted into a musical. Let's just say it's well worth for it many reasons, including all of the great children who give it their all, but Jennyth Peterson's performance of Miss Trenchbull — the vile principal — is worth it alone. The final shows at 8:30 p.m. on Friday and Saturday at The Point Theater in Ingram.

To see our photos from last week's performance:

Best of the weekend from Instagram


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Miss Trenchbull’s costume is amazing.

#kerrvilletx #hcaf #pointtheatre #igtexas #saturday #datenight #vsco #musical…


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What a beautiful Tx night it was for Rodeo & Honky Tonkin!

#familytradition #since1925 #visitthehillcountry #cridersr…


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Helping out and having fun. UGRA Annual River Clean Up.


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Gluten free Ginger Peach Coffee Cake. Hot out of the oven! Limited number so grab it while it’s hot!

#bakery #ingra…


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Thanks fur the memories

#ruffwear #dog #dogsofinstagram #lakedaysarethebestdays #riverdays #rescuedog #rescuedogsofins…


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