The Lead March 4, 2022: Housing is what we're talking about in Kerr County

At the Kerrville Area Chamber of Commerce's Hill Country Economic Summit, the strain of the region's housing crunch was on full display.

Good morning, Kerr County!

We made it! It's Friday. The National Weather Service alleges there is a 40% chance of rain. Our confidence remains low that this will happen. Should be warm today and through the weekend. By the way, if you're hunting for bargains — check out the Market Day on Saturday at the Hill Country Youth Event Center. If you need a great pork chop — check out the Kerrville Farmers Market at 4 p.m. today.

On today's The Lead Live!

Century 21 The Hills Realty's John Sawyer will stop in to discuss the April 2 Farm and Ranch Expo at Schreiner University. We can also expect a visit from Linda Field, who will tell us more about Saturday's event with writer and newspaper columnist John Moore. Join us at 9 a.m. Programming note: On Monday, Andrew Gay and Greg Richards will take over The Lead Live, because host Louis Amestoy will be out of town.

Get out and enjoy the day!

When it comes to live music, this is a big weekend for Kerr County. We got a sneak peek on Thursday night when Schreiner University held its music department showcase at the Cailloux Theater. Here are some photos from the event:


Schreiner University freshman Annekah Longoria wowed the Cailloux Crowd with her powerful singing, songwriting and music.

To see more photos from Thursday's event:

To see our interview with Schreiner University Music Department Director Gene Dowdy:

Today's events

College Tennis: East Texas Baptist at Schreiner University

Schreiner University Tennis Courts

4 p.m.

A non-conference matchup for the men's and women's tennis teams.

Kerrville Farmers Market

Butt-Holdsworth Memorial Library

4-6 p.m.

Enjoy craft pizza and beer as you stroll through the grounds of the A.C. Schreiner Mansion shopping for locally-made goodness.


First Baptist Church


A simulcasted event shown around the globe (over 50 states and 33 countries). Women are gathering together to get equipped and discover the next step in their calling — to go and make disciples. FBC is so excited to be a host church for the Kerrville community.

Live music by Camerata San Antonio

First Presbyterian Church, Kerrville

4 p.m.


Classical chamber music concert by Camerata San Antonio featuring guest artist, pianist Viktor Valkov. Music from the twilight of the British Empire and the dawn of the 20th century. Coleridge-Taylor: 5 Fantasiestücke, Op. 5. Bridge: Piano Quintet in D Minor.

Live music by Aaron Lacombe

Cafe at the Ridge

6 p.m.


Aaron LaCombe is an Austin-based Americana singer-songwriter. Aaron writes and performs heartfelt and soulful songs with a bare-bones style.

Live music by Whiskey 2 Step

Pier 27 River Lounge

6 p.m.


Open Mic and Karaoke!

Trailhead Beer Garden at Schreiner University

7-9 p.m.


Open Mic and Karaoke, for those who can take it.

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.

The Arcadia Live
Mar 03, 2022 ·

Jesse Daniel and Dallas Burrow will be ON STAGE tomorrow night!

Get your tickets before they sell out at

#texasmusic #livemusic #fridaynights @[17841400393748177:6057:@thejessedaniel] @[17841403258483547:6057:@dallasburrowmusic]

Found on Facebook

A sharp-eyed reader discovered that former Kerrville Mayor Jack Pratt was leaving Facebook and speculated if his loss in the Republican Primary for Precinct 2 of the Commissioner's Court had something to do with the decision.

Today's feel-good story from Kerrville Pets Alive

The folks over at Kerrville Pets Alive were able to get a disabled man's trusty canine companion an emergency surgery, which was paid for by a donor. KPA President Karen Guerriero wrote that "Duke" was bleeding, but his owner, Juan, is blind and didn't see the blood. Juan's sister contacted KPA and they arranged for a vet in Fredericksburg to see the dog. The dog is now safe and reunited with Juan.

Kerrville Pets Alive
Feb 27, 2022 ·

Please help us save “Duke.” Duke’s Kerr County owner, Juan, is blind, disabled and has limited funds. Duke is very sick and began eliminating blood today.

KPA! was able to secure an emergency veterinary evaluation for Duke. Tests reveal that Duke is suffering from Hemorrhagic gastroenteritis (HGE) disease which can be deadly if untreated.

With the emergency visit expense and treatment, the estimate to save his life is between $700 to $1000 plus.

Duke is everything to Juan. He is his best friend and he helps Juan navigate in his home. Juan can’t imagine life without Duke.

Please help us begin Duke’s treatment today to save his life. Tax-deductible donations will allow us to cover his care and recovery. Any excess funds will be utilized for future pets in crisis like Duke.

Donations may also be mailed to KPA!, 317 Sidney Baker S., Ste 400, PMB 345, Kerrville, Texas, 78028

Walk in donations may be delivered to our office at 414 Clay in Kerrville between 8 and 5, M – F.

Thank you from KPA! ❤️

The summit is really about overcoming Kerr County's housing issues

From left, Justin MacDonald, Joe Piszczor, Brian Bowers, Bruce Stracke and E.A. Hoppe.

The Hill Country Economic Summit offered a robust discussion about the state of the regional economy, especially when it comes to housing. The good news — you're not going to see a bubble, but the bad news is significant.

The simple truth is there are no easy answers when it comes to easing the region's affordable housing woes. However, if you own a home, you're not likely to see a decrease in values — at least according to Texas A&M economist Luis Torres.

The big panel of the day featured Kerrville City Manager E.A. Hoppe, developer Justin MacDonald, Peterson Health Chief Operating Officer Joe Piszczor and commercial real estate broker Bruce Stracke. The summit was a production of the Kerrville Area Chamber of Commerce.

Kerrville City Manager E.A. Hoppe discussed some of the city's housing challenges.

To see more photos:

Stracke focused some of his efforts on suggesting Kerrville could be ripe for more townhouses and condominiums. Hoppe discussed some of the city's efforts to attract large-scale production builders, including Lennar, which has begun constructing about 125 homes on Loop 534. However, the consensus remains that this will not be a quick fix.

"We need more multi-family, we need more single-family but we also need a variety of stuff in the middle," Stracke said after the panel discussion. "Because that's how we hit the different attainable pricing."

A reality check on workers

There seemed to be this underlying sentiment at the summit that workers were still sitting out of the market and that they might reappear one day. However, here's an alternate theory — they're never coming back.

We've reported this before, but we're going to lay this in front of you:

Millions of baby boomers retired during the pandemic; Pew Research Center estimated in November that 50% of those 55 and over are now retired from the workforce. Those 55-year-olds aren't Baby Boomers; they're the front line of Generation X.

Pew noted that Baby Boomers stayed in their jobs longer in the years before the pandemic — usually at historic levels. Still, since COVID-19, those same folks are hurriedly saying so long.

And the other uncomfortable truth is COVID-19 has killed far more people than we realize, also leaving millions more with long-term health problems — many of which are not fully known. In July, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services said long-haul COVID-19 survivors are eligible for disability.

"Long COVID — or post-COVID conditions — is a wide range of new, returning or ongoing health problems people may experience more than four weeks after being first infected with SARS-CoV-2," The American Medical Association wrote in October 2021. "Even people who did not have any symptoms can experience long COVID, which can present as different types and combinations of health problems and can range in lengths of time, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)."

A study by the University of Washington suggested 32% of those infected with COVID-19 but not hospitalized faced long-term impacts from the virus. The percentage was similar for those hospitalized. In Kerr County, that suggests at least 2,500 people or more have lingering health issues related to COVID-19, which may impact their return to work or work duties. Add in the retirement bomb, and you could have more than 3,000 people who left the regional workforce.

Kerr Economic Development Corp. Executive Director Gil Salinas didn't throw water on The Lead's theory.

"COVID through a wrench into the mix," Salinas said. "We were already headed into this direction. COVID just accelerated it."

Salinas has repeatedly argued that Kerr County's workforce challenges were present before the pandemic but now heightened by many factors — including an abundance of jobs across the state.

Salinas harkened back to the housing situation as one of the biggest inhibitors because people want to move here, mainly from Texas.

"We just need more housing," Salinas said. "We need rooftops."

Who is really moving to Kerr County — Louisianans

One of the things that we noticed is the repeated mention of people from California moving to the Hill Country, and that's true. However, they're not moving here in the numbers you'd expect.

From 2015-2019, according to the U.S. Census Bureau, 109 people moved to Kerr County from California — mainly from Los Angeles County. More people moved here from Louisiana than California in that stretch. However, that may not hold in the next round of Census data. Economist Luis Torres that most of those moving from California to Texas are from Southern California — now home to nearly 25 million people.

Planning and Zoning continues approving short-term rentals

If you want to obtain a conditional use permit to operate a short-term rental, you better show up to the Kerrville Planning and Zoning Commission.

That's the clear message the commission sent Thursday afternoon, by tabling a CUP request from out-of-town owners for a short-term rental at 213 Palmer Street. Commission Chairman Mike Sigerman has clearly stated that he wants to hear from property owners to ensure adequate management.

During Thursday's meeting, the commission voted unanimously to table the permit for Palmer Street. It then unanimously approved another short-term rental because the property owner could answer questions.

The commissioners spent a lot of time discussing a conditional use permit for a guest house at a property in The Heights. A neighbor objected to the project because it violated the homeowner's association covenants, codes and regulations. However, City Attorney Mike Hayes told the commissioner they were responsible only for the permit, not the private CCRs. The commission approved the permit.

In other business, Sigerman was unanimously retained as the chairman, and John Lipscomb was appointed vice-chair.

Chip Roy says no to veterans' health care

Rep. Chip Roy, continuing his run of no votes on anything issued by Democrats, voted not to approve a bill that would make it easier for veterans exposed to toxic substances to receive care.

Roy was one of 174 Republican members of the U.S. House of Representatives who voted against the legislation. The Texas GOP House delegation voted against the bill, which was championed at the Capitol by former Daily Show host Jon Stewart.

See @jonstewart's post on Twitter.

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