Good morning, Kerr County!
Hot today. Hot tomorrow. Hot through next week. Hot. There's a chance of some thunderstorms on Monday. There does seem to be a difference of opinion on the likelihood of rain. The National Weather Service is very blah about it, but the Weather Channel gives it about a 35% chance.
On today's The Lead Live!
We welcome Holly Sechrest of Joanne Marie and Me Wine Bar in Ingram. Sechrest will tell us about some of the innovative things happening with food, drinks and entertainment in the old Ingram Loop. Kerrville Convention and Visitor's Bureau President and CEO Julie Davis will update us on events this week and the big Fourth of July weekend.
Today's newsletter is sponsored by
What are people talking about?
Longhorns land THE quarterback
The University of Texas is headed to the Southeastern Conference — just like Texas A&M. And to compete you need some major firepower, and the Longhorns got that when Arch Manning — the grandson of Archie and nephew of Payton and Eli — said he would play for the Longhorns in 2023. Manning is the No. 1. quarterback recruit in the nation.
See @ArchManning's post on Twitter.
One of the best tweets, we've read in a long time was this missive by former Rep. Will Hurd:
See @WillHurd's post on Twitter.
Hurd followed it up with this burn on President Joe Biden:
See @WillHurd's post on Twitter.
Speaking of events
- Kerrville Farmers Market — A.C. Schreiner Mansion, 4 p.m. Information: https://kerrvillefarmersmarket.com/ The details: Come down and enjoy a complimentary beer, or buy a handcrafted pizza and enjoy the market.
Science and Nature
- Plant Walk and Talk — Riverside Nature Center, 8:30 a.m. Information: 830-257-4837. The details: Kim Ort, Texas Master Naturalist, will guide you on a tour of invasive and non-native plants in the Hill Country and how to identify them.
- 101 with a Naturalist — Riverside Nature Center, 10 a.m. Information: 830-257-4837. 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.
- Guns and Hoses Flag Football Game — Antler Stadium, 5 p.m. Information: 830-257-8181 The details: Flag football game between Kerrville Fire Dept. vs. Kerrville Police, Ingram Police, and the Kerr County Sheriff's Departments benefiting Mercy Gate Ministries.
- Tim Porter and Gary Hatch — Cafe at the Ridge, 6 p.m. Information: https://www.shopsattheridge.com
- Sean Kendrick — The Hunt Store, 7 p.m. Information: 830-238-4410
- C-Rock — Pier 27 River Lounge and Pizzeria, 8 p.m. Information: 830-896-7437
- Modal Mojo — Southern Sky Music Cafe, 6:30 p.m. Information: https://www.facebook.com/southernskymusiccafe
- Melrose — Joanne Marie and Me Wine Bar, Ingram, 6 p.m.
- Matty Lee Band — Pint and Plow, 6 p.m. Information: https://www.pintandplow.com The details: Matty Lee Band plays reggae music inspired by blues and jazz.
- Brent Ryan and the Pistoleros — Trailhead Beer Garden at Schreiner University, 7 p.m. Information: https://www.trailheadbeergarden.com The details: Brent's music hearkens back to a time when Texas Country told stories and was saturated with cowboy folk. Brent's music turns down the amplifiers and turns up the heart.
- Corey Weaver — La Escondida 1962, 7 p.m. Information: https://www.facebook.com/La-Escondida-1962-402905176935599 The details: Corey Weaver and his band turn in some memorable tunes.
- Rumors — The Point Outdoor Theater, Ingram, 8:30 p.m. Information: https://www.hcaf.com 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.
Leitha makes his pitch on a vehicle
Kerr County Sheriff Larry Leitha makes it clear that he doesn't ever want to use an armored vehicle, but he still wants to have one available.
His reasoning is simple — Uvalde was too close to home. The mass shooting in nearby Uvalde left 19 children and two teachers dead, and the impact of that mass casualty event (17 children and adults) were wounded is resonating with law enforcement across the country.
Leitha is also faced with the reality that his special response team is active — having been called out at least six times in his first 18 months as sheriff. Since 2019, Walmart has faced a parking lot shooter that set off a manhunt and has been targeted twice with credible threats.
So, on Thursday night, Leitha made his pitch to dozens of supporters at an event organized by the Kerr County Sheriff's Foundation at Trailhead Beer Garden.
The pitch is simple — the foundation needs to raise $150,000. When they hit that total, the Cailloux Foundation will match that with an additional $150,000. What the department is looking to buy is a Bearcat, which is an all-terrain vehicle that can serve multiple missions.
Drunken driver responsible for the deaths of four men sentenced to 80 years
The drunken driver in a 2020 crash that left four motorcycle riders dead, including three at the Texas 16 site, was sentenced to 80 years in prison for intoxicated manslaughter.
Ivan Robles-Navejas was sentenced Wednesday to four "stacked" 20-year terms in state prison for the July 18, 2020 deaths of members of the Thin Blue Line motorcycle club, who were headed toward Medina and then Bandera. Robles-Navejas already had an arrest and pending case for drunk driving in Kendall County and an aggravated assault charge in Bexar County.
Lucy Wilke, the 216th District Attorney, said the sentencing sent a clear message about the perils of drunk driving. Robles-Navejas won't be eligible for parole for 30 years — he will be 60 years old.
Robles-Navejas pleaded guilty to the deaths of Joseph Paglia, Jerry Wayne Harbour, Michael White and Joseph Lazo last year. Paglia, White and Lazo were all from Illinois. Harbour was from Texas. Harbour, Paglia and White died at the scene, while Lazo died from his injuries a few days later.
Wilke said family members from Illinois were in attendance for Tuesday's sentencing.
"(Robles-Navejas) basically got the equivalent of a life sentence," Wilke said.
As part of the plea bargain agreement, Robles-Navejas agreed to plead guilty to assault with a deadly weapon in three cases. He pleaded guilty to intoxicated manslaughter.
More on law enforcement, because it's all about the gridiron tonight
Kerr County's law enforcement community is still smarting from last year's 48-12 drubbing by Kerrville firefighters in the annual Guns and Hoses charity flag football game.
Tonight at 6 p.m. at Antler Stadium, the cops and the firefighters square off in a rematch. It's $5 to attend, and all proceeds go to Mercy Gate Ministries, which works to end human trafficking and support victims.
"I mean all of our beneficiaries have been awesome, but what Mercy Gate is driven to do is just help these women that have been trafficked, that have been forced to be prostitutes, that are forced to live in that lifestyle, not by their choice," said Kerrville Police Department Det. Jarron Ince, who will help shore up the police defense tonight.
While it's a flag-football game, Ince and fellow Detective Jake Trevino are ready to turn the tides on the fire department. Ince said the firefighter used a ringer last year — someone not yet employed but who was formidable on the field. The police have a long memory.
County tries to understand what's going on in Ingram
In a curious press release, Kerr County announced a meeting between Judge Rob Kelly and Ingram Mayor Claud Jordan happened on June 17 about the city's controversial issues.
Earlier this week, Ingram replaced its police chief for the third time in a month and saw two members of the City Council resign, including one on Tuesday. The meeting also included Kerr County Sheriff Larry Leitha and Precinct 4 Commissioner Don Harris, who represents West Kerr County.
"We felt it was pertinent to meet face-to-face to discuss the reality of Ingram's current challenges and cooperate on plans for the benefit of all county citizens," Kelly said.
Jordan won a narrow mayoral election over the appointed incumbent Kathy Rider and challenger Bill Warren. Jordan defeated Warren by nine votes.
Since Jordan's election, most of the police department resigned and there seems to be a difference of opinion on whether Police Chief Carol Twiss retired or Jordan fired her. The West Kerr Current newspaper showed text messages between Jordan and Twiss suggesting he had fired her.
"My biggest concern through all these changes, of course, is for the City of Ingram and its citizens," Harris said. "Carol Twiss and her officer team had created a very stable environment, as well as initiated many positive community events. It is my hope that the new city hall regime can regain some of that. The people of Ingram deserve it."
Ingram's woes have centered around a contentious sewer project, which Jordan has opposed. This longstanding issue led to the ouster of city staff, a wide range of conspiracy theories and threats about the program's implementation. Funded by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the sewer line was to connect residences to Kerrville's sewer system. It did not include commercial buildings.
This back-and-forth over the sewer had gone back to 2005 as the city tried to charge commercial businesses for connecting to the sewer.
However, the biggest concern for county officials is restoring stability to Ingram's city government, which operates without a city manager.
"We are cooperating with them by helping Mr. Jordan find the necessary personnel to restaff the city government," Kelly said. "We covered a lot of ground in our meeting, and I felt good about it," the judge said. "It just makes good sense for us to work together in ways that are mutually beneficial to each other."
Joe Hamilton, a retired Department of Public Safety captain, is now leading the police department, but Leitha said the sheriff's office would provide support.
"As sheriff to all of Kerr County and its residents, I would like to make it clear that our office will serve the public in all 1,100 square miles under our jurisdiction," Leitha said. "Our precinct division has coverage on every shift, as we have for more than two decades."