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The Lead June 17, 2022: Kerrville musician takes a chance; Mayor Eychner chats about short-term rentals

Kerrville's Aaron LaCombe heads out onto the road and will open for James McMurtry.

Good morning, Kerr County!

Hot and ridiculous. Saharan dust. That's it. Let's move on.

On today's The Lead Live!

Steve Schulte invades the show, with Ingram Independent School District Superintendent Bobby Templeton in tow. Schulte, Jeremy Walther, Julie Davis and Andrew Gay may wrestle for control of the show. We'll also have Upper Guadalupe River Authority's Tara Bushnoe on to tell us about her new promotion — as UGRA general manager.

Mayor Eychner guests on The Lead Live

During her first interview as Kerrville mayor on The Lead Live, Judy Eychner discussed some of the work that the City Council faces, including creating a new framework for managing short-term rentals.

"We're all after the same thing," Eychner told guest hosts Andrew Gay and Jeremy Walther about a recent joint meeting between the City Council and the planning and zoning commission. "And so some good things came out of it. And so we gave staff some direction."

The short-term rentals hit a boiling point over the last few months after the planning and zoning commission balked at approving some of them. Short-term rentals require a conditional-use permit from the city in certain zoning areas. Considering all of these were in residential neighborhoods, it began to draw residents' ire.

"We all will probably agree that we need the permit, and probably an inspection," Eychner said. "So, those are two things we can put in place."

Eychner said she still questions how many short-term rentals are too many? However, this is a question that many cities across the country face.

"You've got the neighbor who says, you know I bought this house because I like the atmosphere in my neighborhood," Eychner said. "And I love to walk out every day and wave to somebody I know. Not just somebody that's down on the weekend that I don't know. So it's you know it it's really difficult and so what we did was ask staff to come back with some scenarios."

The Kerrville city staff could present those in the coming weeks.

A few storylines we're thinking about

Texas soccer fans rejoice

Texas soccer fans will be in for a treat in 2026 when Dallas and Houston play host to World Cup matches. The FIFA, soccer's (troubled) governing body, announced that the 2026 World Cup would be played in the U.S., Canada and Mexico — the first time the world's most popular sporting event will be held in three nations.

AT&T Stadium, home of the Dallas Cowboys, and NRG Field, home of the Houston Texans, will be the sites of matches. It will also be the first time the field features 48 nations — an increase of 16 over this year's field. MetLife Field in New Jersey will be the site of the 2026 finale.

In 1994, the Cotton Bowl hosted six matches during that World Cup.

Institutional investors around the corner?

Say what? One of the things we've been stewing on is a report from the National Association of Realtors about the penetration of "institutional investors" into the housing market. Their No. 1 target? Texas. The report found that 28% of Texas home purchases were made by institutional investors — most in the nation. Think of institutional investors like hedge funds, big banks and other finance folks. The point here is that Lennar is scheduled to construct homes in Kerrville that will be priced in the $250,000 range.

The Texas Tribune covers the final funeral in Uvalde

On Thursday, Layla Salazar became the final victim of the Robb Elementary School massacre to make that trip. She was 11 years old. Read more:

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Inspiration leads to an opportunity for Aaron Lacombe

When Kerrville's Aaron LaCombe saw that singer-songwriter-guitarist-poet James McMurtry didn't have an opening act for a July 9 gig in Roswell, N.M., he was inspired.

McMurtry is a legend for any Texas-based country or folk singer, and he's one of Lacombe's favorites. Lacombe has worked in music for many years, getting just to the cusp of making a living before the coronavirus pandemic set in. In 2022, Lacombe is busier than ever, but when he saw McMurty's opening act was "to be announced," he didn't hesitate.

"I asked to be the TBA," LaCombe said. The venue manager agreed, and LaCombe will now have a chance to play with a Texas icon — in New Mexico.

Aaron LaCombe
Sep 24, 2021 ·

Thank y’all very much for the sweet birthday wishes yesterday. We’re on the road and having a great time.

For those unfamiliar with Kerrville's music scene, Lacombe represents a growing number of artists who call this place home but spend incredible amounts of time on the road. On Saturday night, LaCombe plays a gig in Fredericksburg before packing up his Great Dane and driving to Estes Park, Colorado, for a show on June 21. He then turns around and comes back to Texas on June 24.

He has at least 22 shows lined up between Saturday and late October. He's played more than 30 shows and is a familiar face at The Hunt Store, Bridget's Basket, Cafe at the Ridge, Pint and Plow and Southern Sky Music Cafe.

"I have toured extensively before," LaCombe said. "I was in the middle of a tour when they started shutting down for COVID."

Just now, LaCombe is trying to unwind his vintage recreational vehicle restoration business to focus on music full time, but the pandemic has delayed that from happening.

"I've got a year of work to do," LaCombe said.

The 47-year-old guitarist came to Kerrville six years ago looking for a quieter lifestyle after years in Austin, finding this is where he's focused his writing. Kerrville is now home.

To LaCombe, the best part of his music is the ability to tell stories.

"Country music is the best at telling stories," said LaCombe, a Detroit native who still likes a bit of Rock City edge in some of his music. However, that edge is more of an ode, but his main focus is on the words and the message.

That message can sometimes be a hard edge.

"To me, what I like about McMurty, and this applies to Ray Wylie Hubbard, is they're not afraid to tell it what it like it is. McMurtry says he's not afraid to lose fans."

LaCombe's website states his intention — songwriter. Many of his songs draw upon his life in the Hill Country, with the Guadalupe River as a background. His latest single, "Dream Along With Me," is focused on many themes but about sharing dreams with those you love.

He said through the years; he's also become more empathetic, something he draws upon in his writing.

However, LaCombe is working to make his dream to come true.

Things to do around Kerr County TODAY, TONIGHT!


  • Kerrville Farmers Market — A.C. Schreiner Mansion, 4 p.m. Information: The details: Come down and enjoy a complimentary beer, or buy a handcrafted pizza and enjoy the market.

Live music

  • Marty Haggard — Lazy Days at Roddy Tree Ranch, 6:30 p.m. Information: The details: Marty was born and raised in Bakersfield, California. Of course, everyone knows his Dad, Merle Haggard. Growing up, Marty traveled with his dad and witnessed the writing and recording of all his great songs. He also had the opportunity to know many of the country greats, like Bob Wills, Lefty Frizzell, and Johnny Cash, to name a few.
  • Colleen Michelle Miller — Cafe at the Ridge, 6 p.m. Information:
  • David Loving — Pint and Plow Brewing Co., 6 p.m. Information: The details: David Loving is an independent singer-songwriter and producer based in Southeast Kansas. David's music blends influences from classic singer-songwriters such as James Taylor, Gordon Lightfoot, and Jackson Browne with modern performers such as The Avett Brothers, The Lumineers and Dawes.
  • Carlos and Dan and the Silver Bullets & Havoc Wagon — Louise Hays Park, 7 p.m. Information: The details: Pack up your lawn chairs and picnic blankets and come out to Louise Hays Park to enjoy a free summer concert along the banks of the beautiful Guadalupe River. There will be food and refreshments available for purchase.
  • Mike Blakely — Hunt Store, 7 p.m. Information:
  • The Tailgaters — Pier 27 River Lounge and Pizzeria, 8 p.m. Information: 830-896-7437
  • The Flashbacks — Joanne Marie and Me Wine Boutique, 6 p.m. Information:
  • Matt Daniel — Southern Sky Music Cafe, 6 p.m. Information:


  • Divide Volunteer Fire Department Steak Dinner — Divide Volunteer Fire Department, 5 p.m. Information: 830-459-5169 The details: Come out and join us for our annual steak dinner, raffle and auction. All proceeds benefit the Divide Volunteer Fire Department.

✏️ Education

  • 101 with a naturalist — Riverside Nature Center, 10 a.m. Information: The details: Naturalist, author, and columnist, Jim Stanley and Texas Master Naturalist and native plant enthusiast John Hucksteadt will be available to meet one-on-one to answer questions, discuss various topics, or listen to ideas about nature.


  • Rumors — The Point Outdoor Theater, Ingram, 8:30 p.m. Information: The details: The show runs through June 25. At a large, tastefully-appointed Sneden's Landing townhouse, the Deputy Mayor of New York has just shot himself. Though only a flesh wound, four couples are about to experience a severe attack of Farce. Gathering for their tenth wedding anniversary, the host lies bleeding in the other room, and his wife is nowhere in sight. His lawyer, Ken, and wife, Chris, must get "the story" straight before the other guests arrive. The evening spins off into classic farcical hilarity as the confusions and miscommunications mount.

The Jan. 6 hearings

J. Michael Luttig, former U.S. Court of Appeals judge for the Fourth Circuit, testifies before the House Select Committee to Investigate the January 6th Attack on the U.S. Capitol in the Cannon House Office Building on June 16, 2022 in Washington, DC. The bipartisan committee, which has been gathering evidence for almost a year related to the January 6 attack at the U.S. Capitol, is presenting its findings in a series of televised hearings. On January 6, 2021, supporters of former President Donald Trump attacked the U.S. Capitol Building during an attempt to disrupt a congressional vote to confirm the electoral college win for President Joe Biden (Photo by Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images)

No matter your political leanings, Thursday's Jan. 6 Congressional Committee hearing was a gripping political theater — never before seen in American history.

Essentially, if you're a patriot, Thursday's hearing laid out a troubling account of a seditious conspiracy led by President Donald Trump, repeatedly urged by his advisors that he received erroneous legal advice, but who persisted in promoting a theory that Vice President Mike President could overturn the 2020 election results. In turn, the Jan. 6 riot at the capitol ensued.

The most damning part of the whole thing came from longtime conservatives, who were shocked by the events of Jan. 6. In a closing statement, conservative former Federal Judge J. Michael Luttig said Trump and his followers represented a clear and present danger to American democracy. Luttig said Trump and his supporters would continue trying to overturn election results they don't like. It happened this week in a New Mexico county, where a Republican-led committee refused to certify an election won by a Democrat.

The central focus of this event was John Eastman, a lawyer and legal scholar, who pleaded the Fifth Amendment to not self-incriminate himself. Eastman posited the legal theory that Pence could reject the election's outcome, but it was an idea rejected by nearly every lawyer in the White House.

Eastman faced challenges to his reasoning by lawyers asking him if Vice President Al Gore, the narrow loser of the 2000 presidential election, could have taken the route that he was advising President Trump and Vice President Pence. Eastman argued no, but said the 2020 election was an exception.

Eastman later asked Trump for a pardon — one never granted. So, what's next? The Lead suspects probably nothing but Eastman is most likely headed for a criminal referral. And some of you are probably asking why is this relevant to us? Remember, several Kerr County residents participated in the Jan. 6 events — not necessarily rioting — but at least one person has pleaded guilty to entering the capitol.

The other element is the Jan. 6 text messages from Rep. Chip Roy, who represents Kerr County in Congress, communicated with White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows. Roy was one of many people who urged Meadows to get control of the situation at the capitol, describing the riot as a "shit show."

Just a reminder about Trump's 2020 performance in Kerr County

In 2016, Trump earned 78% of the vote, but the 2020 turnout was about 5% higher. Trump's performance in Kerr County slipped by about 3% over 2016, while Joe Biden improved Democrat performance by about the same margin. This was a consistent result across Texas, and the other note is that Sen. John Cornyn narrowly outperformed Trump in the 2020 election.

Bushnoe will lead UGRA

Tara Bushnoe will replace Ray Buck as the general manager of the Upper Guadalupe River Authority, the agency announced Thursday.

Bushnoe, who has worked at UGRA for 15 years, will officially succeed Buck on Oct. 1 — as they work together through the transition. Buck served as general manager for 17 years.

With Bushnoe, UGRA gets stable leadership and is one of Kerr County's most respected water quality voices. Bushnoe manages all water quality monitoring and outreach and education activities and serves as a technical director for the Environmental Laboratory.

A graduate of Cornell University, Bushnoe leads the messaging on Guadalupe River cleanup and creating or restoring riparian areas to improve the river.

"UGRA is fortunate to have a highly qualified candidate already on staff," said Diane McMahon, president of UGRA's board of directors. "Tara Bushnoe is well known in the community, thoroughly experienced in all our programs, and very capable of successfully guiding UGRA as it moves forward."

Bushnoe serves on the board of Riverside Nature Center and is a member of Kerr County Women's Chamber, the Guadalupe Regional Flood Planning Group, and the City of Kerrville Code Review Committee. She is a past participant in the Kerrville Independent School District Leadership program and served on the Kerrville 2050 subcommittee for water, wastewater, and drainage.

"It has been my privilege to contribute to the stewardship of the Guadalupe River over the past 15 years and I look forward to continuing to serve our community," Bushnoe said. "I am grateful to the UGRA Board for the opportunity to lead our exceptional organization of dedicated and talented professionals as we remain focused on the conservation of the upper Guadalupe River."

Kerrville Police Department identifies suspect in school threat

The Kerrville Police Department provided greater context to an arrest of a former Kerrville resident for making a suspected threat against the Kerrville Independent School District.

Police said Hunter Richter, 22, of San Antonio, was taken into custody after San Antonio Police served a warrant. He was booked into the Bexar County Jail and held pending a $25,000 bond.

Police said they suspect Richter of making the threatening call to the KISD offices on Monday afternoon. During the call, Richter made threats against the district, police said. KISD officials immediately called the police. KPD detectives traced the call to San Antonio and then engaged San Antonio Police in apprehending Richter.


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