Good morning, Kerr County!
As Dora the Explorer would say — WE DID IT! That's right; we finished the hottest May in recent years with a flurry of plus-90-degree days. And now for the bad news: we are still in a drought. With eight-tenths of an inch of rain, it will be the second driest May since 2000 — the record was in 2003. Since December 2021, about 3.5 inches of rain fell on Kerr County — that's it. We'd see about 12 inches fall in most years in that period.
On today's The Lead Live!
We all need to enjoy a wonderful day, and Rachel Fitch storms onto the show today. Join us at 9 a.m.
Today's newsletter is sponsored by
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On your agenda today:
Kerrville Folk Festival
Starting at 8 p.m. in Threadgill Theater
- Miss Brown to You
- Picker's Circle — La Escondida 1962, 7 p.m. Information: https://www.facebook.com/La-Escondida-1962-402905176935599
Markets and Sales
- Friends of the Library Book Sale — Butt-Holdsworth Memorial Library, 1–3 p.m. Information: https://kerrvillet.gov/349/FOTL-Book-Sale 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.
Uvalde story takes another turn
On Tuesday, Uvalde began burying the 19 children and two teachers killed in the May 24 attack on Robb Elementary School. The news from Uvalde continued to focus on issues involving the police response.
- ABC News reported that the Uvalde Police Department and Uvalde Consolidated Independent School District police force were no longer cooperating with Texas Department of Public Safety investigators. However, CNN and Fox News said that wasn't the case, that only school police chief Pete Arredondo wasn't speaking to investigators.
- In another shift to the law enforcement narrative, DPS said a supposedly propped open door by a teacher wasn't but was indeed closed. However, the door didn't lock. The San Antonio Express-News provides greater context on the door issue: https://www.expressnews.com/news/local/article/Uvalde-teacher-open-door-shooter-17209972.php
- The first funeral was for Amerie Joe Garza, a 10-year-old fourth-grader. The Texas Tribune has the story: https://www.texastribune.org/2022/05/31/uvalde-amerie-jo-garza-funerals/
- The Texas Tribune's Ross Ramsey is dubious that much will change in the wake of the shooting, and he's got the numbers to prove it: https://www.texastribune.org/2022/05/31/texas-gun-laws-voters/
A changing of the guard at KPUB
With a new mayor, the Kerrville Public Utility Board welcomed two new board members, including Kerrville Mayor Judy Eychner, who replaced Bill Blackburn.
"I have been a KPUB customer myself for over 30 years and am so appreciative of the reliable service they consistently provide to our community," Eychner said. "Kerrville is very fortunate to have a locally-controlled, not-for-profit electric utility company, and I look forward to serving on the board of trustees."
Glenn Andrew, a former City Councilman, joins the five-member board that oversees the management of the city-owned utility.
"I am honored to have been appointed to the KPUB Board of Trustees and thankful for the community's trust in me to serve in this capacity," Andrew said. "It is my goal to facilitate the continued delivery of highly reliable power at a competitive rate while ensuring a continued safe and competitive workplace for KPUB's exceptional employees."
Thoughts on the Folk Festival
Tuesday night was quiet around the Kerrville Folk Festival, except in the Threadgill Theater.
It's no secret that some folks in Kerrville derisively call the so-named Folk Festival — the hippie fest. I heard it when I first got to Kerrville in 2019.
The coronavirus pandemic slowed the festival for the last two years, but in 2022 it's back to its glory as, arguably, Kerrville's biggest event. Sure, there are hippies there that may make some rank-and-file Kerrvillians uncomfortable, but I've seen plenty of people from town enjoying the music in my three visits there.
I stopped by Tuesday night to see Possessed By Paul James, the one-man band of Kerrville's Konrad Wert but discovered he couldn't play because he was facing a tooth extraction. Wert is traveling to Europe in the coming days for a 50-day tour, and I wanted to see him one last time before his departure.
But the real spirit of the festival is that people were disappointed, but there were so many musicians floating around they could replace Wert. For those who might be skeptical of my claim about it being Kerrville's biggest event, I'd posit this — what other event can draw more than 2,000 people a night?
What other event can bring people together for informal jam sessions in campgrounds of all sorts, sizes and levels of comfort? It's what makes the Folk Festival unique, and we should do a better job of embracing it.
Rumor has it!
The Point Theater is readying for one of its biggest shows of the year — Neil Simon's comedic farce "Rumors."
The Hill Country Arts Foundation Executive Director Sarah Derousseau and Artistic Director Daniel Kirkland were guests on Monday's The Lead Live to discuss the show, which debuts at 8:30 p.m. on Friday.
"And it gets to be very silly," Derousseau said of the play. "It's very fun."
The play runs for four weekends — just on Friday and Saturday nights. It also marks the beginning of a busy summer season at The Pointe. The theater troop is producing a children's version of "Matilda," which debuts July 15, and "The Nerd," debuting on Aug. 19.
What makes "Rumors" an unusual work for Simon is that it's a farce. So, Derousseau and Kirkland expect big laughs. One of the Pointe's interesting attractions is its skybox seating. For $250 for a group of six, you get a skybox view, a snack board from Hill Country Cravings and champagne.
UGRA set for a silver screen discussion
A documentary film about the beauty of Texas — one narrated by Matthew McConaughey and featuring state-of-the-art cinematography — is playing at Rio 10 Cinemas in Kerrville starting Friday.
While the Academy Award-winning McConaughey is the project's voice, the Guadalupe River Bass may be the star of the show — at least according to the folks at the Upper Guadalupe River Authority.
On Saturday evening, UGRA's Tara Bushnoe joins film producer Jay Kleberg and Texas Parks and Wildlife Department fisheries biologist Preston Bean for a special showing of the film. The 7 p.m. presentation is followed by a question and answer session.
In 2005, UGRA teamed up with Texas Parks and Wildlife Department and the Hill Country Fly Fishers to increase the number of Guadalupe Bass stocked in the upper Guadalupe River basin. During the past 15 years, nearly 600,000 Guadalupe Bass returned to Kerr County.
For more on the film visit: https://www.deepintheheartwildlife.com/
Supreme Court tells Texas no on social media law
Texas was dealt a setback in its efforts to regulate social media, but it got some support from an unlikely member of the U.S. Supreme Court.
The case was Netchoice, LLC. vs. Paxton, Texas' novel approach to allowing people who have been de-platformed by social media companies — namely Twitter and Facebook — to sue over those actions. In a 5-4 decision, the Court blocked the state from implementing the law, also known as House Bill 20. However, it can return to the lower courts for further litigation.
Justices Samuel Alito, Neil Gorsuch and Clarence Thomas voted against blocking the law. Interestingly, liberal Justice Elena Kagan indicated that she would have allowed the law to go into effect — however, she did not join Alito's opinion.
While recognizing the challenges of the internet's place as a town hall, coupled with the rights of private businesses, Alito said the plaintiffs in the case should have gone through the state courts first.
"Applicants sought pre-enforcement review of the statute in federal court, so it is not clear how state courts would interpret this statute if it were applied to applicants' businesses; nor has it been resolved which platforms are covered by the law," Alito wrote in his dissent.
A district court initially blocked the law before the Fifth District Court of Appeals overturned that decision. The law was in response to Twitter and Facebook booting former President Donald Trump off their platforms after the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol.
The law intended to go into effect against companies with 50 million registered users but faced opposition from a broad coalition of First Amendment advocates. Social media companies have suspended or banned thousands for hate speech, threats of violence or spreading misinformation. Determining what constitutes misinformation has been at the heart of the argument.