The Lead May 16, 2022: Canvassing of Kerr County election results is a top priority

How about that blood moon on Sunday night?

Good morning, Kerr County

We are in for a scorching week with temperatures in the high 90s. Weather Underground and other forecasters suggest we may see a break in the 90s starting Sunday, but just slightly. Before that happens, we will have experienced 15 consecutive days of 90 degrees or hotter — exasperating our drought conditions. The only good news is that next week's forecast has some rain in it — about a quarter inch on Monday. However, with the good comes the bad — thunderstorms. And we know that thunderstorms are a mixed bag.

On today's The Lead Live

Meteorologist Richard McAlister from the American Red Cross will be joining us via video. McAlister is competing in the National Senior Games in Fort Lauderdale, but we will have plenty of questions for him about our weather. We welcome Texas Hill Country Advisors Gilbert Paiz and Andrew Gay with their weekly update on the economy and the investment markets. The pair will discuss the meaning of the Consumer Sentiment Report issued by the University of Michigan. Amid increasing inflation, the survey found slipping consumer confidence compared to April and dramatically different results from this time last year. We'll also get an update from the Kerrville Convention and Visitors Bureau. Join us at 9 a.m.

The bloody moon!

Sunday night's eclipse and blood moon over Kerrville!

Speaking of the drought


Kerr County's historic drought trends.

The city of Kerrville said last week that residents should do their best to conserve water as we head into the summer months. With five consecutive months of minimal rainfall, the city said it has been proactive in managing water resources. The National Weather Service expects severe drought conditions for much of Kerr County in the coming weeks. The city, however, offered these tips:

  • Sketch your yard to locate existing structures, trees, shrubs, and grass areas.
  • Take note of slopes and consider buffer zones to absorb water and prevent runoff.
  • Group plants that require the same watering needs to prevent overwatering.
  • Select a variety of native plants which require less water and adds diversity.
  • Check for leaks or broken sprinkler heads.
  • Adjust sprinkler heads to avoid watering sidewalks, driveways, or other hard surfaces.
  • Check your settings periodically to make sure your system is running as needed.
  • Watering in the middle of the day causes evaporation and loss of water.
  • Overwatering leaches nutrients away from plant roots and causes runoff.
  • Underwatering can be wasteful because it doesn't alleviate any drought stress.

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A canvas of results

Today begins the process of Kerr County's political jurisdiction canvassing the results of the May 7 election and certifying the election. The Kerr County Commissioner's Court starts the process this morning in its meeting. The Kerrville Independent School District, Ingram Independent School District, Kerrville City Council and Ingram City Council will certify their results on Tuesday. In those meetings, the swearing-in of elected officials will take place.

The Kerrville City Council meeting will occur at Arcadia Live! to accommodate a potentially larger than normal crowd. However, we're also hearing there may be some objections to the process because it's not happening at City Hall. Kerrville City Councilman Roman Garcia objected to the canvassing at the Arcadia Live over an interpretation of the City Charter and the language of "usual meeting place." Here's what the City Charter says:

  • "Following each municipal election, the Council shall meet at the usual place for holding its meetings, canvass the election in accordance with state law, and the newly elected members shall assume the duties of office without party or partisan mark or designation."

Now, a usual place could mean City Hall, but Kerrville hasn't hesitated to host its meetings at the Cailloux Theater and Arcadia Live in the past. The 2020 election results and swearing-in were conducted at the Cailloux.

Today's Public Meetings

  • Kerr County Commissioner's Court — Kerr County Court House, 9 a.m. The details: The commissioners will canvass election results before going into the closed executive session.
  • Kerr County Historical Commission — Union Church, Noon. The details: Updates on events and projects.
  • Kerrville Economic Improvement Corp — Kerrville City Hall, 4 p.m.

Tuesday, May 17, 2022

Public meetings

  • Kerrville Independent School District — Kerrville Independent School District offices, 9 a.m. The details: Canvass of the May 7 election results.
  • Kerrville City Council — Arcadia Live, 6 p.m. The details: Swearing-in ceremony of Mayor-elect Judy Eychner and City Councilmembers Joe Herring Jr. and Brenda Hughes.
  • Ingram Independent School District Board of Trustees — Tom Moore High School Theater, 5:30 p.m. The details: The board of trustees will canvass election results and present achievement awards.
  • Ingram City Council — Ingram City Hall 6 p.m. The details: Canvas of election results and swearing-in of Mayor-elect Claud Jordan and City Councilmembers Rocky Hawkins and David Britton.

What they raised for the Kerrville City Council

Kerrville Mayor-elect Judy Eychner only needed to raise $1,300 through the April 29 reporting period to amass $10,000 in fundraising for her victorious campaign. After a slow start, Eychner's opponent, Brent Bates, raised $2,050 in the second report — tops among all candidates. The trio of Eychner, Brenda Hughes and Joe Herring Jr. raised more than $22,000 compared to the nearly $8,000 by their opponents — Bates, Robin Monroe and Katy Chapman Hanna.

Who were the big winners?

  • The Kerrville Daily Times was the biggest monetary winner from the election — earning more than $2,200 from the campaigns. That doesn't include spending in the final week. The political action committee that supported Kerrville's Prop. A spent more than $2,300 in The Daily Times and the Hill Country Community Journal. Liberty In Action, listed as the backer of the anti-Prop. A group, did not file a campaign finance report.

Early voting begins today

Early voting starts today for the primary runoff, with the main election set for May 24. Voters can cast ballots until Friday evening. The two places to cast early votes are at the Hill Country Youth Event Center and the Ingram Independent School District from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Some of the key runoff races are:

Commissioner's court

Sonya Hooten edged Rich Paces by nine votes in the primary race for the Precinct 2 commissioner. The question rests on where the remaining 35% of voters cast their ballots. Paces has the backing of the hardline Liberty in Action and has spoken out against accepting federal COVID-19. Hooten has the backing of former Kerr County Sheriff Rusty Hierholzer.

21st District Democrats

Claudia Zapata came within three percentage points of winning the primary outright but now faces a runoff against second-place finisher Ricardo Villarreal. Both were guests on The Lead Live on Friday, and they were united in their belief that defeating incumbent U.S. Rep. Chip Roy was a priority. The district was competitive in 2020, but Roy has a decided advantage over the Democrats thanks to a gerrymandered re-districting process set by the state legislature. However, both candidates argue that Roy's voting record doesn't align with the values of most Texans.

"So, it is gerrymandered, but I don't think it's gerrymander in his favor particularly," Villarreal said. "It doesn't necessarily mean that that it's going to end up going his way. One of the things that I've talked about in my campaign is that I plan to work on a bipartisan basis and be able to represent both Democrats, independents, and Republicans."

Zapata said Roy doesn't want to discuss important issues to rural Texans, including healthcare.

"Chip Roy has been called a principled statesman by a recent Express-News article because he consistently votes against veterans," Zapata said. "He has voted against reauthorizing the violence against women acts. Voted against providing aid to Ukraine. Voted against campaign finance reform.'

Both Zapata and Villarreal have roots along the border and believe the situation is fixable but Republicans, they say, only want to demonize those seeking entrance into the U.S. Both argue that guest worker programs are one way to fix the illegal immigration problem.

24th State Senate Republicans

Raul Reyes and Pete Flores had a contentious primary race and now face the final test in the runoff. Flores has the backing of Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick, who campaigned with Flores in Kerr County. Reyes earned 43% of the vote in Kerr County.

Election polling

In the race for Texas governor, Gov. Greg Abbott continues to hold a seven-point lead over Democratic challenger Beto O'Rourke, according to a poll by the University of Texas, Tyler and the Dallas Morning News. The race will come down to independent voters and some disaffected Democrats. Abbott has a 46%-37% lead in the poll, but O'Rourke beats the governor in every demographic except one — white voters. Abbott holds a 58%-30% lead over O'Rourke, the former Congressman from El Paso, among white voters. O'Rourke holds a slight edge over Abbott with women — 44%-40%. Libertarian candidate Mark Tippetts showed strength among independent voters, earning 8% of the overall vote.

One of the issues to watch will be the move on Roe V. Wade, expected imminently from the U.S. Supreme Court. The poll found 53% of voters supported preserving the abortion rule, but 59% of women said they favored Roe V. Wade remaining. That includes 35% of Republican women — and that's a potential problem for Abbott.

Some of the other interesting takeaways from the poll about O'Rourke and Abbott:

  • The respondents split on which candidate would do a better job at the border; O'Rouke had a slight edge 42%-41%.
  • An interesting twist on that question was that 70% of all respondents seemed to support Abbott's commercial vehicle inspections at the border. Respondents said they did not support state funds used for the border wall.

What were some other takeaways?

  • The poll showed Texas Republicans blame the nation's inflationary pressures on one thing or person — President Joe Biden.
  • A majority, 56%, said the state is heading in the wrong direction — and just about every politician in the state (Democrat or Republican) faces unfavorable ratings.

Kerr Konnect needs volunteers

Kerr Konnect's Linda Smith, seated, and Georgieanna Itz looks at the ride schedule, which is currently short of drivers.

Linda Smith looks at the computer screen in the Kerr Konnect offices and sees a lot of magenta boxes in the software that controls the ride-share service's schedule.

That's not a good color because that means they have too many riders and not enough drivers. The volunteer-based service held an open house on Saturday to attract more drivers.

Georgieanna Itz, the organization's volunteer coordinator, said Kerr Konnect needs about 25 drivers. Currently, the organization says it has one driver for every three riders — and it's not enough.

"We have hundreds of rides not filled," Itz said.

Kerr Konnect has proven it's a critically important tool for older adults or others to find a ride to appointments or errands, and the demand is great. Smith remembers when the organization was founded in October 2018 that they thought they would have 100 riders within a year — they had that number by Christmas that year.

Want to help Kerr Konnect? Visit their website for more information:

Hospital Week features a robot

Peterson Regional Medical Center celebrated National Hospital Week with a party for its employees and a sneak peek at one of its newest pieces of tech — a DaVinci robotic surgery machine.

The machine allows surgeons to do precise surgeries, especially gastroenterology and gynecology. The multi-million dollar device feels more like a virtual reality game, and on Friday, users got to test it for themselves.

"It's primarily for hysterectomies, a lot of general surgeries from colorectal, urology to bariatic," said Mitchell Clark, who is training hospital staff in using the equipment.

In the case of a gall bladder, usually performed laparoscopically, a push of a button sets the machine up for the procedure. Instead of doing the surgery manually, a surgeon uses a console with a real-time procedure feed. The surgeon can make cuts, remove the gall bladder and close the incision.

It's so intuitive that even first-time users can grasp the rudiments of the tools — like clasping or picking up a rubber band. The only thing the machine doesn't offer is the weight and feel of the body.

Peterson now has two of the DaVinci robots.

A big day for Kerrville Pets Alive

Kerrville Pets Alive! helped vaccinate more than 100 animals on Saturday during its latest vaccination and microchip effort.

"We had 161 Rabies, 114 Distemper-Parvo, 35 feline HCP vaccines were administered and over 100 microchips were implanted," said Karen Guerriero, the president of KPA!

Pet owners lined up around the block at the Clay Street KPA offices, and a line of about 20 volunteers processed them. Of course, all of this comes as KPA! volunteers spent hours helping Kerr County Animal Services deal with 49 dogs that were taken into custody last week. That effort overwhelmed the shelter and its staff — requiring heavy lifting from KPA!

Help KPA! continue to provide resources to pet owners so their pets remain home, healthy and out of the shelter. Make a tax-deductible donation at or mail, KPA!, 317 Sidney Baker S., Ste. 400, PMB 345, Kerrville, Texas, 78028.

Kerrville Pets Alive! volunteers helped track all of the animals that received vaccines.

Volunteers were also able to check and insert microchips.

And most waited patiently for their turn!

Protesters join nationwide movement

Women across the country demonstrated, including here in Kerrville, over the anticipated reversal of Roe V. Wade — the historic Supreme Court decision that legalized abortion in the U.S. However, a leaked Supreme Court document showed that Justice Samuel Alito is writing an opinion that signals the court's conservative majority is ready to overturn the 1973 decision. Abortion is one of America's most divisive issues, and on Saturday, supporters of the right to choose mounted a demonstration at the Kerr County Courthouse. There were some attempts at counterprotest, but there were no problems.

Glory in the garden

The Glory Community Garden held its first music event — even on a sweltering day — with some nice shade in the Doyle Community on Sunday. The garden, a ministry of the Barnett Chapel United Methodist Church, provides the community some places to grow vegetables, fruits or just some pretty flowers. More than 75 people were on hand to enjoy the RBQ Band, have some snacks and maybe a sample of Pint and Plow's beer that is dedicated to the garden.

Best of the weekend

Once again, a look at some of our favorite photos from Instagram from around Kerr County.


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The golden hour on the banks of the Guadalupe River #texasrivers #texas #kerrville #ilovetexas #texashillcountry


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Took an inaugural ride on my new bike today with this handsome guy! It was also my longest ride at 14.5 miles AND my fi…


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“Cactus Rose”
9×12” pastel
In progress..
#cactus #cactusbloom #cactusart #texas #texasart #texashillcountry

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