The Lead June 20, 2022: Kerr County celebrates Juneteenth, Father's Day with music; Ingram faces more turmoil

The city of Ingram faces another change in police leadership.

Good morning, Kerr County!

We will finish out the month of June with no rain and an average daily temperature of 83 degrees. This week remains hot, and Saturday and Sunday should top 100 degrees. So, how bad is this drought?

Incoming Upper Guadalupe River Authority General Manager Tara Bushnoe spoke about the conditions during Friday's The Lead Live, offering this assessment:

"You know, we don't need to curtail that too much, but a way that we can conserve water is definitely through landscape irrigation," Bushnoe said. "It's going to be hard to keep things alive this summer in general and so, I think it's kind of a triage situation at this point. Decide, you know, what you really want to irrigate and do that as responsibly as you can without wasting water and then maybe some things will have to be just going to have to be let go."


We will have more from Bushnoe further down in the newsletter. Here's a look at the seven-day forecast:

On today's The Lead Live!

Andrew Gay assumes the guest host duties, joined by Leslie Jones of the Kerrville Convention and Visitors Bureau. Gay, a partner at Texas Hill Country Advisors, will update us on the latest financial news with Gilbert Paiz, while Jones gives us a preview of this week's events. On Tuesday, Jeremy Walther returns as guest host to chat with Kerr County Sheriff Larry Leitha and Kerr County Sheriff's Foundation members.

Today's newsletter is sponsored by:

Public meetings today

  • Kerr County Commissioner's Court — Kerr County Courthouse, 9 a.m. Budget workshop.
  • Ingram City Council — Ingram City Hall, 6 p.m. The City Council will consider appointing Joe Hamilton as the interim police chief.
  • Kerrville Independent School District board of trustees — KISD Headquarters, 6 p.m.
  • Kerrville Economic Improvement Corporation — Kerrville City Hall, 4 p.m.
  • Center Point Independent School District board of trustees — Center Point ISD headquarters, 8:30 a.m.

Tuesday, June 21

  • Ingram City Council — Ingram City Hall, 6 p.m. Regular meeting of the City Council.

Ingram is a mess

If there's one thing to say about the city of Ingram, it's just — oh my!

The City Council is holding back-to-back meetings starting today to extricate itself from a wave of resignations.

At 6 p.m., the City Council could appoint Joe Hamilton as the interim police chief. Hamilton would replace Mike Baker, who resigned as interim chief last week. Baker replaced Chief Carol Twiss, who was fired by Mayor Claud Jordan, according to the West Kerr Current.

All of this, of course, points to another round of dysfunction for the small city. Two council members resigned in the last few weeks, as did the law firm representing the city. Council member Bridget Dale resigned at the beginning of June, while William Warren's resignation is on Tuesday night's agenda.

Many of these problems are carried over from years of controversy from some residents not wanting to connect to the city's sewer services as part of an agreement with the city of Kerrville.

The weekend's biggest event was a Bluesy fundraiser for the Doyle community on Juneteenth and Father's Day

For hundreds of people Sunday, the perfect way to spend Juneteenth and Father's Day was at the Doyle School Community Center Pavilion for the first-ever Blues Fest. Here's a look at the day in pictures by Alyson Amestoy:

Templeton explains the importance of Ingram ISD's police force

On Friday, Ingram Independent School District Superintendent Bobby Templeton and school board Trustee Steve Schulte were guests on The Lead Live to discuss the district's police force.

In the wake of the emerging failures of the Uvalde Consolidated Independent School District Police Department to prevent a massacre of 19 children and two teachers and the wounding of 17 others, the departments have come into greater focus.

Texas' political apparatus — namely Gov. Greg Abbott and Attorney General Ken Paxton — believe in hardening schools, beefing up security and arming more teachers after the Uvalde shooting. Ingram's efforts have been noticed by many in school districts across Texas.

"I would say probably 20 different school districts have reached out," Templeton said. I actually got a call from a producer from CNN that wanted to come down and do a story on what they said arming teachers. We declined to do that because it's not in our best interest to talk about it in that forum. The spin that so many people use is you're arming teachers."

In Ingram's situation, the first line of defense is the district's police department.

"So, as of now, we have two full-time officers, and when school starts, we'll have two full-time officers and two part-time officers, and their jurisdiction is not just the physical grounds of the school itself," Templeton said. "Their jurisdiction is anything in the school district."

Eli Garcia, a retired Kerr County Sheriff's deputy, is the department's chief.

"You know, I don't want kids to be afraid of those officers," Templeton said. "I want them to be able to go and say, hey, you know, Officer Garcia, there's a, you know, there's a kid I'm concerned about."

Ingram, however, is notable in that it participates in the school marshal program — a statewide initiative that trains teachers on how to use firearms in the case of an emergency.

"It takes upwards of a year, maybe a little more, to be a school marshal," Templeton said. "You have to go through psychological testing, noncrisis, non-violent crisis intervention, de-escalation training, first aid, CPR, stop the bleed, a bunch of kind of ancillary training, and then you have to go spend a good portion of your summer at a police academy. Actually, training with police instructors."

Templeton said marshals are kept confidential, but he offered this caveat: "What is fair to say is that we have a fairly large number of armed staff."

Those marshals are throughout the school district.

"There is a lot of protocol like in in part of our security is not telling every everybody everything," Templeton said. "So, I'm not trying to be cryptic, but the security protocols are very robust to keep a kid from ever getting a hold of a weapon."

Templeton said the district is adding security cameras and other measures to improve campus safety.

"We're getting more all the time but our camera system is actually live fed into Ingram PD's units," Templeton said. "And we'd like to do that with the sheriff's department too. So, the idea is that at any given time, a local law enforcement person, whether city or county, could pull up on their computer, in their police unit."

John Cornyn pays the price on guns

We've long maintained there are just some things you can't talk about in America — one of them guns. Sen. John Cornyn, already wobbly on the subject, felt the wrath of fellow Texas Republicans during the party's state convention last weekend. Cornyn worked with fellow Sen. Chris Murphy (D-Connecticut) to create a bare minimum of gun regulations, but those in the convention booed him. Cornyn also appears to be backing away from the legislation after negotiations with Democrats bogged down.

Of course, the GOP state convention was a bit contentious, with plenty of hard-right ideology on display — and arguably some disconnection from reality. The group kicked out a longtime LGBT-Q group — "The Log Cabin Republicans" — and said that President Joe Biden was not the legitimately elected president of the United States. There was also a plank to secede from the Union and to repeal the Voting Rights Act of 1965.

However, there were other disruptions, including when Rep. Dan Crenshaw, a former Navy Seal, entered the convention and was heckled by hard-right provocateurs.

See @DanCrenshawTX's post on Twitter.

Is the Guadalupe River safe to swim in?

During a Friday interview on The Lead Live, the Upper Guadalupe River Authority's Tara Bushnoe discussed if the river was safe for swimming considering its low flow.

"So, don't swim in areas that have a lot of algae and also just the algae itself can be an irritant to skin and so you always want to take a shower and and wash hands definitely when you get out of the river," Bushnoe said. "A lot of people have concerns about the blue-green algae that is very toxic to pets especially, and we haven't had observations of that in Kerr County but it's something that our field staff is trained to to look for."

But the surface water is an area of concern for Kerrville

The city of Kerrville announced last week it has self-curtailed water production from the surface water treatment plant by 500,000 gallons per day.

"This will not change the water conservation stage from 'year-round' to 'stage 1' yet, but we are getting very close", states Scott Loveland, Assistant Director of Public Works. "Citizens have been doing a good job of conserving water. Average daily water usage for Kerrville has been under 5 million gallons per day (MGD) until last week. That's good for such a dry summer."

The normal water demand is approximately 3 million gallons per day. Summertime irrigation can drive the demand up to 6 million gallons per day. The city said it's not ruling out water restrictions.

Best of the weekend


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Sun’s out, tongue’s out! I love pool days!

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Post workout recovery soak….and proper recovery hydration #atxtriclub #SmokinGoodTri


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night fish

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