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The Lead March 3, 2022: KISD says its removing books that couple wanted banned

Kerrville schools also reviewing list of 850 books that Gov. Greg Abbott said Texas Education Agency should investigate for removal.

Good morning, Kerr County!

We'll see some cloudy skies, but we'll have some warm temperatures over the next few days here in Kerr County. The weather continues to be nice through the weekend, but we can also expect some unsettled conditions starting Sunday!

On today's The Lead Live!

Schreiner University's Gene Dowdy will join us to discuss tonight's concert by Schreiner music students at the Cailloux Theater. Dowdy is the conductor of Symphony of The Hills, but he's also now leading Schreiner's music department. We'll chat with him about the symphony and where he wants to take the university in the coming years. Our show starts at 9 a.m. Dowdy and his students take the stage at 7 p.m. for the free concert at the Cailloux Theater.

Speaking of live music.

We count at least 16 live music events starting tonight through Sunday around Kerr County. You're going to want to check out our lists for some of the big performances. Right now, the two we're most curious about is Jesse Daniel at Arcadia Live on Friday night and Landon Lloyd Miller at Trailhead Beer Garden on Saturday night. Here's our list of all of the live acts this weekend:

Live music by Jesse Daniel

Arcadia Live!

8:30 p.m.


Since his debut album in 2018, Jesse Daniel has been an artist impossible to ignore in country music and American songwriting as a whole. He has received commercial success and critical acclaim from the likes of Rolling Stone, SiriusXM Outlaw Country D.J. Shooter Jennings, American Songwriter magazine, and Saving Country Music, among many others.

Live music by Landon Lloyd Miller

Trailhead Beer Garden at Schreiner University

5:30 p.m. to 10 p.m.


Landon Lloyd Miller brings his unique brand of American roots music to Kerrville. It's a southern sound inspired by folk songs, murder ballads, country classics, and everything in between, glued together by a biographical songwriter and multi-instrumentalist whose career path is every bit as diverse as his music. The indy troubadours, The Lonesome Heroes, will join Landon.

Another reason to subscribe to The Lead Live!

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The state of the Hill Country economy

The state of the Kerr County economy, along with its regional impact, will be at the heart of today's Hill Country Economic Summit at the Happy State Expo Hall in the Hill Country Youth Event Center. The Lead will have coverage of the event later today.

With rising inflation, attributed to a litany of reasons, the national economy feels a bit jittery to many people. In January, the Gallup Poll found that 40% of Americans rated the economy's health as "only fair," and 37% said the economy was in poor shape.

Kerr County's economy feels the pinch of inflation, high housing costs and rising gas prices. It's the housing issue that Kerrville Area Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Bradley Barnett says could be the most crucial discussion on Thursday at the event.

"What we did in December was we had a meeting with a lot of stakeholders, and the Chamber after that meeting decided to form a committee to take up that (housing work)," Barnett said of addressing Kerrville and Kerr County's shortage of affordable or workforce housing. "Our thought was we're a private membership-based organization supporting business, it makes sense to us working under the city rather than the city doing that."

Book situation clarified by Kerrville schools

The Kerrville Independent School District said it had removed 17 books questioned by a parent during the Feb. 21 board of trustees meeting and admitted it was reviewing Gov. Greg Abbott's demand to investigate 850 books that some have found objectionable.

On Feb. 21, parents Brandon and Clarissa Aery read excerpts from books found at Hal Peterson Middle School's library, but district officials said they removed four.

"Books that clearly violate laws related to "pornography" have been permanently removed and all other contested titles will follow policy EF (Local) and go to committee review," the district said in a lengthy press release.

Those books were:

  • I Am Jazz, a story about a transgender teen, was found in the Daniels Elementary School library. The book has been in the library since 2014 and never checked out.
  • L8R;G8R, a story told through text messages, was at Tivy High School, checked out just once, and removed in December 2021.
  • Looking for Alaska, found in the collections of Hal Peterson Middle School and Tivy High School. Checking out the book required parental permission at Peterson, which never happened. Removed from collections in 2021.
  • The Perks of Being a Wall Flower, one with pervasive sex and made into a movie, are found in middle school and high school libraries. With parental permission, a Peterson student checked out the book this year while at Tivy, the last time was 2020.

If you want to read more about the 17 books:

The broader collection of books initiated by Texas Rep. Matt Krause is about sexual orientation, gender identity, sexual health and race. For Abbott, along with the Republican Party, the culture wars over the content of libraries have spread across the country, with parents arguing books with sexual content are pornographic, or books about race teach "critical race theory."

In Kerrville's case, the district says it is initiating a review of the books on Krause's list but has received no direction from the Texas Education Agency about removing books.

"In December 2021, the Curriculum and Instruction Department met with librarians, and made them aware of state Rep. Matt Krause's list of 850 books that he recommended should be removed from school libraries in Texas," the district said. "At that time the librarians began reviewing their collections to ensure grade-level appropriateness and to determine if any titles needed to be relocated or removed. Some titles, such as the L8R;G8R, cited at our February board meeting, were removed from circulation in December and January. Other titles are under review by the librarians."

Website Book Riot studied Krause's list, coming up with presumed reasons for their banishment. The study found 62% of the titles were related to Lesbian, Gay, Transgender or Queer characters or themes. Another 14% were involving sex education.

KISD will also have to make some difficult decisions because Krause's list is a weird hodge-podge, with books that suggest white culpability in segregation investigated. One of the titles is by Ruby Bridges, one of the first Black children to attend a white kindergarten in New Orleans. Bridges wrote "This Is Your Time," a children's book. Bridges is a Civil Rights icon depicted in Norman Rockwell's painting about her journey to school.

When Texas Gov. Greg Abbott signed a bill prohibiting that recast how Texas would teach history and civics, it featured an underlying tenant that you couldn't make somebody feel bad about the treatment of Blacks.

The bill says: "an individual, by virtue of the individual's race or sex, bears responsibility for actions committed in the past by other members of the same race or sex."

However, the vague language raises the question about discussing historical racism — a tricky proposition for KISD that has a school named after B.T. Wilson, the beloved leader of the district's segregated school.

Here's the Texas Tribune's explainer on critical race theory:

Congratulations to the Kerrville Women's Chamber of Commerce

The Kerrville Women's Chamber of Commerce, a division of the Kerrville Area Chamber of Commerce, celebrated its 50th anniversary on Wednesday night at the Y.O. Ranch Hotel and Conference Center.

Karen Martin, the current president of the Kerrville Women's Chamber of Commerce, offered a toast saluting the 50 years of work done by the organization.

Trish Wilson's boundless energy helped inspire the audience and earned her a standing ovation for her speech about service defining your legacy.

Kerrville CPA Keely Herod discussed how a scholarship from the Kerrville Women's Chamber of Commerce helped establish her education, leading to a lasting career in accountancy.

Cindy Tate earned a scholarship to attend nursing school from the Kerrville Women's Chamber of Commerce. That scholarship helped establish Tate's long career in nursing and nursing education.

Things to do today!

The Hill Country Economic Summit

Hill Country Youth Event Center

7:30 a.m.


As a vibrant area business, the Kerrville Area Chamber of Commerce knows you have goals for your business and a desire to tell your story. The Hill Country Economic Summit will bring Kerrville and the surrounding communities a current economic update and a State of the Union on important happenings within our region.

Live music by Schreiner University's Music Department

Cailloux Theater

7 p.m.


Dr. Gene Dowdy, the conductor of the Symphony of the Hills, leads the Schreiner University Department of Music Showcase Concert.


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