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The Lead March 10, 2022: There's no zooming in Kerrville City Council meetings; a green monster goes down

Check out Irene's new hat showing her solidarity with Ukraine.

Good morning!

We're still expecting cold and possibly stormy starting later tonight and into Friday morning. We're not looking forward to it. However, we're looking forward to next week when temperatures return to the 70s. Here's a peek at the forecast:

On today's The Lead Live!

After a two-week absence, Delayne Sigerman storms back onto The Lead Live and will interview architect Peter Lewis, who has made his stamp on Kerr County's architectural history. Lewis will likely play a key role in a series of improvements Kerr County seeks to make in the coming years if it passes a series of general obligation bonds in November. Today's show will start at 9:15 a.m.

Daylight saving reminder

We're springing forward on Sunday! That's right, daylight savings time returns! Set your clocks ahead one hour on Sunday.

Irene Van Winkle's new hat

We ran into Irene Van Winkle, she of proud Ukrainian descent, wearing her new Ukraine hat at Pint and Plow.


Speaking of Pint and Plow

The brewery and coffee shop were overrun with police officers on Wednesday. They were there for the Coffee with a Cop event, organized by Kerrville Police Department public information Sgt. Jonathan Lamb.

City of Kerrville – Police Department
Mar 09, 2022 ·

Our thanks to everyone who came out for Coffee With a Cop this morning! What a great turnout! Thanks to Pint & Plow for being such great hosts, and Louis Amstoy of the Kerr County Lead for putting us with us!

Lamb and Assistant Police Chief Curtis Thomason stuck around and chatted with us on The Lead Live. Watch it here:

What's on our mind for lunch and dinner today?

Well, today's suggestion comes from the voice of authority — like 216th District Attorney Lucy Wilke. Her suggestion? Mexican Chocolate bread pudding, green enchiladas, tortilla soup at Francisco’s. That does sound spectacular. Check out the menu here:

Today's best things to do!

The Greater Kerrville Kennel Club All Breed Dog Shows

Hill Country Youth Event Center

7 a.m. to 7 p.m.

Information: 830-285-0400.

With 40 breeds on display, this show will have six rings. It's going to be a fun day of spending it with the critters. There will also be an Elvis impersonator singing the national anthem.

Live music by Joshua Ray Walker

Arcadia Live!

8:30 p.m.


The red-hot Joshua Ray Walker, featured lately on late-night talk shows, including Jimmy Kimmel, takes the stage in Kerrville for the first time. Walker's music is a tribute to a broken-down honky tonk and the characters who fill the room. Walker has been to Arcadia Live once before, but he'll be backed by a full band this time.

Live music by Robbie White

Southern Sky Music Cafe, Ingram

6:30 p.m.

Information: 830-367-2735.

Trivia Night

The Boat Oyster Bar and Grill

9 p.m.

Information: 830-896-3354

Prizes, drink specials, and Schreiner Alumni "Professor Sparky" to host. Bring your team.

To ZOOM or not to ZOOM?

For the Kerrville City Council, the days of using video conferencing tool Zoom to manage remote citizen participation in meetings is now over. Citing costs, mostly staff overtime, and a return to in-person meetings, city staff, wanted to reduce its Zoom expense.

Previously, based on the agenda, it appeared that Councilman Roman Garcia was asking for this discussion due to the cost. Instead, the tech-savvy first-term councilman argued that the tool was necessary for expanding opportunities for citizen speakers. It appeared the staff had already moved to eliminate the Zoom offering when Garcia asked for a discussion about the technology.

"Staff does not recommend the use of Zoom going forward due to cost, usage and added support," said Guillermo Garcia, the city's executive director for strategic initiatives.

The use of Zoom costs more than $14,000 per year.

Roman Garcia, no relation to Guillermo Garcia, explained that people told him it has been beneficial. However, the challenge for the city was in monitoring the conference and some of the technical challenges of incorporating it into the city's broadcasts, which are streamed online and made available on the city's television channel.

Mayor Bill Blackburn said he found the software cumbersome and questioned its use by citizens.

"Not that many people used it," Blackburn said. "Plus, you've got staff. You're really required to use two staff members to be here — probably until 9 p.m. at night. We have so many ways people can communicate with the Council and staff."

In the end, the Council took no action and deferred to the city staff to end the Zoom use.

It's a party on the lake*

It has often noted that one of Kerrville's greatest assets is the Guadalupe River, along with its small lakes, including Nimitz Lake. However, it's equally notable that Nimitz Lake is a rarely used boating destination.

That changed a bit on Tuesday when the City Council unanimously approved a plan to allow the city to work out a contract with a company that will provide a pedal-powered boat to make trips around the lake in the coming months.

Hill Country River Rat plans to operate a paddle-wheeled style boat with seats for about 12 people who can cruise Nimitz Lake while having an alcoholic beverage. There's a similar concept on land found in major cities, with partygoers tooling around town in pedal-powered super buggy.

Hill Country River Rat has to agree to the city's franchise agreement but plans to begin operating in the coming weeks. However, it will only be available to groups.

Marijuana possession — especially a lot of it — is still a problem in Texas

Some alert Kerr County Sheriff's deputies and some wobbly driving led to the arrest of a Humble, Texas man suspected of transporting more than 13 pounds of marijuana from California to Houston.

Deputies said they arrested Eric Demond Porter Jr., 19, of Humble, on suspicion of possessing more than 5 pounds but less than 50 pounds of marijuana — a felony. Deputies estimated the value of the marijuana stash at more than $127,400.

A press release from the sheriff's office doesn't explain that valuation. According to numerous cannabis websites, the street value in Houston is $40 per 1/8 ounce. At that price, the valuation is approximately $78,000.

However, Porter Jr. now faces felony charges and was booked in Kerr County Jail. He's still awaiting bond.

"Our investigator did a great job intercepting this trafficking activity on the Interstate," Sheriff Larry Leitha said. "A seizure of this size disrupts criminal activity in other parts of Texas and may stop funding for other criminal enterprises. Whether human or drug cargo, we are working 24 hours a day to disrupt smuggling routes through Kerr County. We appreciate the assistance of our law enforcement partners from the Multi-County Criminal Interdiction Unit in this bust."

Here's a follow-up story for us

Who keeps the weed? One of the interesting intra-state battles is between those that allow marijuana and those that don't — like California (allows) and Texas (doesn't allow). The California-based taxable value on Eric Demond Porter Jr.'s alleged 13.6 pounds of marijuana is more than $2,000 just to cultivate. Add in sales tax, use tax and an excise tax, and then you're talking about a $127,000 valuation. So, California likes keeping its weed in the state. In the first three quarters of 2021, California collected $1 billion in tax revenue from legalized marijuana.

Buh-bye to the green monster

The falling-down apartment complex Francisco Lemos and Herzog streets is no longer. Poof be gone! In one day, a demolition crew tore down the 1930s-era building, owned by Joe Herring Jr. and his sister, Judy Alexander. Herring's relatives had owned the property, but he and his sister recently consolidated their holdings in the neighborhood and removed the building on Wednesday. Herring Jr. is currently running for the Kerrville City Council.


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