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The Lead March 18, 2022: Census data shows Kerr County demographic shifts — we're older

Also: Irene Van Winkle talks about the Ukraine; We've got an advance on Friday events!

Good morning, Kerr County!

We made it. It's Friday, and a beautiful weekend is in the forecast. The only blip is Monday when we could see an alleged thunderstorm.

On today's The Lead Live!

We welcome Kris Koether of Premier 7 Gym. Koether will tell us about his training efforts with Kerr County athletes of all ages. Also, expect Ashley Phillips to storm onto the show potentially.

Texas teams in the NCAA women's tournament

OK, you're not allowed to bet, but if you were to on the NCAA women's basketball tournament, it might be smart to put some money down on Baylor or Texas. Here's a look at the first-round games involving Texas teams.



  • No. 15 Hawaii vs. No. 2 Baylor, 3 p.m.
  • No. 15 Fairfield vs. No. 2 Texas, 7 p.m.


  • No. 12 Stephen F. Austin vs. No. 5 North Carolina, 6:30 p.m.
  • No. 14 Texas-Arlington vs. No. 3 Iowa State, 9 p.m.

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Things to do today

  • College baseball — Schreiner University, 2 p.m. Information: The Details: The Mountaineers open up Southern Collegiate Athletic Conference action today when they play host to St. Thomas. The Mountaineers are 8-6 on the season.
  • The Kerrville Farmers Market — The A.C. Schreiner Mansion at Butt-Holdsworth Memorial Library, 4-6 p.m. Information: The details: Enjoy a glass of beer, a pizza and some locally made items at the Friday afternoon market.
  • "They Played A Rigged Game" — Hill Country Arts Foundation, Ingram, 7:30 p.m. Information: The details: This is a new play written by Kerr County playwright David R. Remschel. Michael Dysart has spent his autumn years at Windy Acres Retirement Center relishing his reputation, superiority over others, and the unquestioning loyalty of his fellow resident, Thomas. Michael's perfect utopia sours with the sudden appearance of new resident Alice Dewitt.
  • Live music by Lisa Beck — Cafe at The Ridge, 6 p.m. Information:
  • Live music by Gary Patrick — Southern Sky Music Cafe, 6:30 p.m. Information:
  • Live music by Carlos and Dan and the Silver Bullets — Trailhead Beer Garden Schreiner University, 7 p.m. Information: The details: Come join the band, enjoy the food trucks, have a beer but, most importantly, have a great time.
  • Live music by Rick Reyna — Pier 27 River Lounge, 9 p.m. Information: 830-896-7437

Today's newsletter presented by:

Stop by Mustang Sally's for the best in Southwestern furniture, art, decor and jewelry

Irene On The Scene, makes her stand

Irene Van Winkle has garnered plenty of attention for her steadfast support of Ukraine in its fight against Russia's invasion, and she's refusing to take it personally when it comes to criticism of her advocacy.

Kerr County Precinct 1 Commissioner Harley Belew was the lone opposing vote in Van Winkle's successful effort to light the county courthouse blue and gold — the colors of Ukraine's flag.

"I love Harley," Van Winkle said during Thursday's episode of The Lead Live. "He's got his pulpit."

The always candid Belew said he believed the lighting effort would accomplish nothing and said it was just an act of "virtue signaling." He made that comment on Monday during the court meeting and then against it during his radio show on Tuesday. Three of his fellow members of the court disagreed with Belew.

Van Winkle is the daughter of Ukrainian immigrants who fled the nation in the wake of World War II. Van Winkle was born in Austria before her family immigrated to the United States in the late 1940s. It wasn't until 2016 that Van Winkle was finally able to visit the nation.

A deeper dive into Kerr County demographics

The U.S. Census Bureau released data on Thursday that provides a deeper dive into how Kerr County, along with the rest of the nation, grew between 2016 and 2020.

The American Community Survey — a key tool for demographers — was released with better analysis from the 2022 Census. In Kerr County, the takeaways weren't surprising — a slight rise in population, income gain, and significant increases in housing costs.

The survey showed labor participation was up slightly over five years, but less than 2%. How much the coronavirus pandemic subverted that number is unclear, according to the Census.

"Although the most recent estimates contain data that include the economic shock from the COVID-19 pandemic, they also contain data collected in the final years (2016–2019) of the longest expansion in the history of U.S. business cycles," the Census said in its news release. "These data only reflect a small part of the impact of the pandemic on social, economic and housing measures."

Kerr County still lags behind the nation's median household income, but it rose by more than $9,000 or 19% from the previous five-year study. Nationally, the median household income was $64,994, while in Kerr County, that level was $57,196.

In demographic data, Kerrville's older residents represented the largest population segments, with those 65-74 years old having the most significant increase — about 1%. In one key demographic — as far as working population — the number of people 45-54 declined by nearly 2%.

Kerr County's Hispanic population grew by 2% — representing 27% of residents. The county's Black population remained at 1.6%, while the number of Asians fell by a tenth-of-a-percent.

In terms of relationships, the number of married couples rose to 51% — about a 3% increase. However, the number of "cohabitating partners" nearly doubled from 2016, accounting for about 7.1% of households.

Some of the other highlights found:

  • About 13% of residents primarily speak Spanish.
  • The number of grandparents responsible for the care of their grandchildren fell, but the length of their care expanded. Of the more than 1,000 grandparents caring for their grandchildren, about 30% had been doing so for more than three years.
  • Homes where both parents work accounted for 75% of Kerr County families.
  • The most significant increases in employment were in retail trades and construction. There were declines in education, health care and information.

A leap of faith for new Kerrville business owners

Sally and Chad McHalffey were searching for something in the wake of a personal tragedy. The death of their daughter, who battled cancer for more than a year, led them on a journey of discovery.

"We wanted to start somewhere new," Sally McHalffey said. "It's refreshing to be someplace different."

It wasn't that they were looking to leave their home in El Paso — a city they have both called home for most of their lives. Chad McHalffey is a successful business owner — running two sports bars. Sally McHalffey is an educator who coaches elementary school teachers.

They were familiar with the Texas Hill Country. Chad McHalffey grew up in Alpine, while Sally McHalffey got a degree from Texas A&M — so they passed through many times.

Initially, they followed the hype to Fredericksburg, thinking they could open a store specializing in Southwestern art and furniture, but found that it wasn't quite to their liking. So, they decided to head home. Before making that trip west, they stayed for a few days in Kerrville — and that was it.

Maybe it was the stay at the River Trail Cottage along Water Street, but for whatever reason, Kerrville grabbed them.

"And in that three days, we secured a spot for the shop and started a new business," Sally McHalffey said.

Today, the McHalffeys own Mustang Sally's — loaded with furniture, art, decor, clothing, and cool stuff. Before they launched their business, the McHalffey — mainly Chad — collected furniture, sculpture and other pieces.

The only challenge so far? Finding employees has been tough. The couple still calls El Paso home but looks forward to making the six-hour drive to Kerrville. So, their ability to be open outside of the weekends is limited. However, with Spring Break, Mustang Sally's is open today.

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