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The Lead March 29, 2022: Kerr County commissioners commend firefighters for their effort

Kerr County's emergency management coordinator made a pitch for more money and personnel for the volunteer departments.

Good morning, Kerr County!

There's a slim chance of rain tonight, but before that? Red-flag warning. That means we'll have another warm day and low humidity before a thunderstorm moves into the area later tonight and early Wednesday morning. The National Weather Service said it was seeing improvement in the midday humidities. "This gives us some hope that there will be enough moisture in the air to generate some showers and storms as the upper trough gives the area a more glancing blow to the north. However, our fire weather concerns remain active." This will most likely be the driest March in the last 20 years when it comes to rain.

On Monday, red-flag warnings were the rage across the Southwest and Plains. The warnings were issued in fire-prone areas of California, southeastern Arizona, eastern New Mexico, most of west Texas, eastern Colorado and Kansas. The National Weather Service is still carefully monitoring the area winds. Here's a look at the forecast through next week:

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On today's The Lead Live!

We'll welcome back Jennyth Peterson to The Lead Live, and this time she will be joined by her dad. The pair are riding in the "Bike MS: Texas 150-mile Ride," an event to raise awareness about multiple sclerosis. The ride starts in Houston and finishes in Austin. This is the 10th year the Petersons have ridden in the event. For more information about the event click here:

Things to do today

Texas Woodcarvers Guild — Hill Country Youth Event Center, TBD. Information: The details: There are many classes offered at each event: Realistic animals, Caricature carving, Relief carving, Mallet Carving, Chip Carving, Architectural carving, plus more.

Fire conversation at Commissioner's Court

During Monday's Kerr County Commissioner's Court meeting, Kerr County Emergency Management Coordinator William "Dub" Thomas updated commissioners about last weekend's fires.

Thomas said Saturday's blaze just west of Comfort and Center Point consumed more than 160 acres, and Texas A&M Forest Service personnel monitored the burn area for hot spots. While the fire was not large in its acreage, the amount of cedar made the fire more intense, Thomas noted.

Each of the commissioners, including Kerr County Judge Rob Kelly, praised the efforts of the county's volunteer fire departments and noted the contributions of those from surrounding areas.

On Sunday, the western Kerr County fire burned 125 acres, threatening 14 homes, but volunteer units were able to fight back the blaze before it damaged homes. The so-named Crooked Creek fire was contained as of Monday.

Thomas made it clear that the volunteer departments did a remarkable job, but they also faced a lack of personnel and funding. Thomas suggested people donate to their local volunteer departments.

Kerr County Commissioner Don Harris probed into one of the underlying issues with volunteer fire departments — fatigue.

"These guys are tired," Harris said during the commissioner's court opening comments Monday. "There's no telling what's around the corner. Conditions are still there. These March winds are hell. I hope we get April showers."

2021 was the deadliest year on Kerr County roads since 2013

In data compiled by the Texas Department of Transportation, Kerr County had at least 17 people killed in 13 crashes last year — the most since 2013.

Of those 13 crashes, four involved the driver suspected of using drugs or alcohol. Three involved excessive speed and two others were with distracted drivers.

Emergency workers responded to 967 crashes — the third most since 2012. Of those crashes, 44 involved serious injuries, the lowest number since TxDOT began its database in 2012.

Suspected drunk driving played a large role in the response — with 68 crashes. However, more than one-third of all Kerr County crashes occurred at intersections.

Crashes involving pickup trucks, four-door passenger cars and sport utility vehicles accounted for 80% of the incidents.

Around the state

75 years of pancakes for dinner goodness

There are some traditions that are so good, so rich in gluten, that not even COVID-19 can kill them — even though it tried. On Friday night, after two years of pesky COVID postponements, the Kerrville Kiwanis Club delivered on one of their signature events — Pancakes for Supper.

And get this: they've been doing it for 75 years.

Behind one of the grills at Tivy High School's cafeteria was R.G. Cook, who dropped beautifully-sized pancakes onto the buttered grill. "I've been doing this for 40 years," Cook said with a shimmer of pride.

The pancake feast is just one of many fundraisers the Kiwanis Club puts on to support youth and service activities across Kerr County. The club provides scholarships, backs the Little Olympics and has helped out first responders and new teachers with a welcoming bite to eat.

However, the caloric goodness of pancakes for supper can really pack them in.

"Well, I'm here to eat pancakes," said Mary Heimann, sitting with a group of friends who all denied they were trying to eat the most pancakes. "They're pretty darn good."

That's certainly something that would make Cook and his Kiwanis Club comrades something to smile about because, in the end, that's the work they want to accomplish.

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