The Lead March 11, 2022: We chat with architect Peter Lewis; visit the dog show and check out a Joshua Ray Walker in Kerrville

The Kerr County Animal Services committee meets for the first time in a year.

Good morning, Kerr County!

Cold, blustery and allegedly rainy. That's the forecast today. However, we made it! It's Friday. The good news is that this unsettled weather could clear out today, and we're headed toward nice weather next week.

On today's The Lead Live!

Billy Gene's Restaurant owner Crystal Smith and motivational speaker and all-around good guy Kenneth O'Neal will be our guests today. Not only is Smith the owner of one of Kerrville's most popular — and we think reliable — restaurants, she's involved in Republican politics and recently attended the Conservative Police Action Conference in Florida. O'Neal is a mentee of motivational guru Zig Ziglar, and he will share with us news about his new book and an upcoming event.

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Things to do today!

Kerrville Farmers Market

Butt-Holdsworth Memorial Library

4-6 p.m.

Walk through the market and peruse the local producers and artisans. Enjoy a sip of Pint and Plow and beer, or a handmade pizza.

College softball

Texas Lutheran at Schreiner University (doubleheader)

Schreiner University

4 p.m. and 6 p.m.

The Mountaineers take on Southern Collegiate Athletic Conference rival Texas Lutheran in a doubleheader.

Live music by Bill Mahko

Pint and Plow Brewing Co.

6:30 p.m.


South Texas musician Bill Mahko brings a diversity of upbeat, fun music to the patio stage at P&P.

Live music by Stan Morris

Cafe at the Ridge

6 p.m.


Live music by Aaron Lacombe

Southern Sky Music Cafe, Ingram

6:30 p.m.

Information: 830-367-2735.

Live music by Carlos and Dan and the Silver Bullets

Trailhead Beer Garden at Schreiner University

7 p.m.


Schreiner University Student Activities Advisory Board presents local country-western crowd-pleasers: Carlos & Dan and the Silver Bullets!

Live Music by Charlie Bravo

Pier 27 River Lounge

8 p.m.


What's on the menu, we're hungry!

Look, we're not going to lie; we're already thinking about lunch and dinner. Continuing our ongoing discussion about places to eat in Kerr County, readers offered these two suggestions today:

  • Vee Luther suggests venison jalapeño sausage from Bills Bar-B-Q on Junction Highway — describing it as food from the gods.
  • Laurinda Boyd suggests the Monte Christo sandwich at Monroe's East End.

Architect Peter Lewis on the record

Architect Peter Lewis chats with Delayne Sigerman on The Lead Live.

On Thursday's The Lead Live, Kerrville architect Peter Lewis was our guest and shared some of the stories of his work, navigating committee by design and Kerr County's needs for public buildings.

Lewis has played a vital role in shaping some of the county's most important buildings, from Tivy High School to the Cailloux Theater to the Hill Country Youth Event Center. The county now retains him to take on the task of reshaping the county's facilities needs ahead of an anticipated general obligation bond election in November.

"We went out and looked at all the facilities around the county, looked at the needs, one of the compelling needs across the board was storage, and so we've considered that in the process," Lewis said of the work done by a capital improvement project committee that the Kerr County Commissioner's Court established.

The committee of Brenda Hughes, Chris Hughes, Fred Henneke, Robert Templeton and Pete Calderon has worked for nearly three years with Lewis to assess the county's needs, including a new animal shelter. Lewis said he was proud of the committee's work, and the court could call for three bond propositions totaling nearly $30 million to make a wide range of improvements.

Delayne Sigerman listens to Peter Lewis during an interview at Pint and Plow on Thursday.

Lewis's work is almost exclusively commercial, although he's delved into projects with Habitat for Humanity, stretching from Austin to Kerrville and across Texas. His work often encompasses the Hill Country's architectural aesthetic of natural stone, metal roofs and practical design.

However, Lewis quickly points out that one of his greatest strengths is building consensus.

"I have an ability that God has given me with dealing with the committees and trying to find consensus and build consensus," Lewis explained. "So, all of those are challenging. Because you'll never please everybody, but it's finding something in the middle ground that meets."

And right now, Lewis will face the challenge of navigating a committee, the commissioner's court, county stakeholders and non-governmental organizations and the voters to pass the November bonds, and he's optimistic that can get done.

"Just inform yourself," Lewis said to the voters. "Educated yourself."

Watch the interview here:

Speaking of the animal shelter

The Kerr County Animal Services committee listens to citizens speakers on Thursday.

One of Lewis' biggest projects, if the county voters approve general obligation bonds in the fall, will be designing a new animal shelter. On Thursday, animal advocates met with Kerr County Pct. 3 Commissioner Jonathan Letz, who oversees Kerr County Animal Services, about the shortcoming of the current animal shelter.

Although there was a court order to meet quarterly, the Kerr County Animal Services Committee, chaired by Letz, met for the first time in a year to discuss the progress by the KCAS staff to minimize euthanization of dogs and cats. However, Kerrville Pets Alive President Karen Guerriero pressed Letz and the KCAS staff about several issues, including fire alarms at the shelter. Just some of the takeaways from the meeting were:

Kerrville Pets Alive wants a memorandum of understanding with the county to foster better communication between KCAS staff and the non-profit group, launched in 2019 to do precisely that.

Speakers expressed frustration about the county's trapping rules, but KCAS Director Reagan Givens said he's working on improving county policies regarding the trapping of animals. Some of the speakers argued the rules weren't being enforced, including humanely treating animals. Part of this issue relates to chronic animal trappers who call the county to dispose of or relocate animals.

Letz said the lack of meetings wasn't intentional but was due to the restrictions placed on the county during the coronavirus pandemic, and he said there would be more meetings to come.

It's a dog day in Kerrville at kennel show

When dog owners get together at a championship show, they are like one big family, and it's more than likely their dogs are family.

In a world where we can forget the names of friends and family, there were people at The Greater Kerrville Kennel Club All Breeds Show who could provide you with the detailed multi-generational genealogical lines of Afghan Hounds, along with their honors, awards and notable achievements.

With more than 800 dogs showing at the Hill Country Youth Event Center on Thursday, there were plenty of chances to hear dog stories — lots of dogs.

Thursday's event was the first of four days of dog-loving glory, with the San Antonio Kennel Club hosting Saturday and Sunday events. The parking lot of the Hill Country Youth Event Center looked more like a recreational vehicle park because the event attracts so many people from all over the country.

Juli Szymanski drove down from Grand Rapids, Mich., with her four Afghan Hounds, where she was chatting with Raymond Smith and Aisha Jones, whose dogs are related to Symanski's hounds. Smith and Jones live in Temple, where they operate a dog training center, but they rely on Symanski's expertise in the long-haired Afghan — a breed that looks like a cross between a Greyhound and a 1980s hair band guitarist.

Juli Symanski brushes the hair of "Sid," who is owned by Raymond Smith.

"They're supposed to be confident and strong," Symanski said of the breed that she holds dear to her heart. Pushing back against a claim that the Aghan hound was the dullard of the dog world, Symanksi said the breed is a working dog bred to run down and end the lives of gazelle and other fleet hooved mammals.

Smith and Jones' dogs are siblings to Symanski's dogs, who could rattle off the accomplishments of the dog's uncle in a way resembling author George R.R. Martin's telling of the Lannister lineage in "Game of Thrones." The uncle, by the way, made it all the way to the "Garden," that's dog show lingo for the Westminster Dog Show at Madison Square Garden in New York City.

Another misunderstood breed is the American Staffordshire Terrier, easily confused with their more notorious cousins — the American Pit Bull. Kevin Crider of Boerne showed Ava, a 3-year-old dog, who knows the drill of showing and then gets her picture taken when she wins. Crider is a believer in the beauty of the muscular breed.

"We have puppy culture from day one," said Crider when it comes to socializing the dog. "We socialize them with small children and other animals. If they're never shown aggression, they will never have it."

Of course, dogs are dogs, and while Ava showed little or no interest in her four-legged friends, Rocky, the champion Westie was showing his spirit by growling and barking at some rambunctious huskies. However, in a building with 800 dogs, it was peaceful and quiet for the most part.

Rocky the Westie decided it would be fun to get a little bit dirty on Thursday.

"He's not on his best behavior," admitted Rocky's owner, Connie Romano of Burleson. Not only was Rocky fired up by some of the action around him, but the perfectly white dog had also decided to do a reasonably doggish thing to do — get dirty.

And that's the other part of the show — it's like a gigantic beauty parlor. Dogs were being brushed, blow-dried and coiffed to the max. One poodle seemed bored by it all and napped on a grooming table.

It's a dog's life in Kerrville this weekend — that much is true.

More photos from the dog show:

Joshua Ray Walker is in the right place for his song

Like many people, singer-songwriter Joshua Ray Walker learned to pivot during the coronavirus pandemic. On the cusp of making it big heading into 2020, Walker's career came to a screeching halt during the pandemic, but it may have made him better.

Walker is an emergent star and played "The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon" last month. He earned significant attention by singing the national anthem at the U.S. Grand Prix in Austin — an event seen by nearly 90 million people worldwide.

He played at Arcadia Live on Thursday night — his second Kerrville appearance in a year — and he never minds coming to the Hill Country.

"When you play music in Texas and you tour, you're going to go through the Hill Country," Walker said during a Thursday afternoon interview from the back deck of Arcadia Live, where he played later that night. "This is the heart of the state and I pass through here every weekend."

In 2019, Walker started to gain notice for his first album and his second album, "Glad You Made It," was lauded by Rolling Stone as one of the best country and Americana albums of 2020.

However, Walker said he dug himself into a hole financially during the pandemic and has made his way out because he built an audience through a disciplined approach of putting out music online and tending a social media following.

"I did grow an audience during the pandemic," Walker said. "So, we just stayed really busy. We pivoted, putting out more music and making more videos, because we couldn't go out and play."

After playing 275 shows in 2019, Walker said he would play about 200 this year. After Thursday night, Walker will play 24 shows through May 31 across Texas, Louisiana, Colorado, California, South Carolina, New Orleans and Las Vegas.

"Coming out of the pandemic that feels like a little bit much," Walker admitted.

However, things are starting to stack up, and he attributes his success to a team he's built to support his act.

"I've built a team slowly over the last three or four years," Walker said. "It's extremely important. I wouldn't be where I'm at without the team that believes in me. My mentor gave me good advice right when we started; he said you've got to find a champion for your music."

Now, he's back on the road, and his sweet sound is putting him back where he wants to be — in front of an audience.

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