Good morning, Kerr County!
We finally broke the streak of days with temperatures of 90 degrees or hotter on Sunday. That was a 16-day streak, a record in May over the last 20 years, and this month could be the hottest May in recent memory — right now, we're averaging about 92 degrees per day. The forecast looks cooler until Thursday, when temperatures start to kick up. Later today, we can expect thunderstorms, which could stick with us until Wednesday. The storms will keep us cooler, with Wednesday's high suspected to be 76 degrees. But the rain? We will believe it when we see it.
Speaking of the weather
Mother nature put on a spectacular double-rainbow feast on Saturday night that was captured by all not sequestered at the Hill Country Youth Event Center for the Hill Country Charity Ball. The storm was hit-and-miss with the rain, but not the thunder and lightning — and the rainbows. Here's a look:
On today's The Lead Live!
The Kerrville Folk Festival's Mary Muse is our guest on this morning's The Lead Live!
The 50th Kerrville Folk Festival kicks off on Thursday — we're ready for Ray Wylie Hubbard — and Mary Muse will tell us what we can expect from the festival in 2022. We know about some of the big headliners, including Shawn Colvin and Edie Brickell and the New Bohemians, but what acts have Muse excited for this year's festival? Tom Fox stops by in the second half of today's show to share some news about his award-winning podcast network — they've won more awards. Fox is the host of the Hill Country Podcast. Finally, Texas Hill Country Advisors Gilbert Paiz and Andrew Gay will update us on what's going on with the markets. Kerrville Convention and Visitors Bureau's Leslie Jones will help us preview Memorial Day Weekend events.
- For a rundown of the Folk Festival lineup through June 5: https://kerrcountylead.com/kerrville-folk-festival-headliner-lineup-through-june-5
- For a rundown of activities across Kerr County through Memorial Day: https://kerrcountylead.com/kerr-county-is-humming-strumming-this-week-memorial-day-weekend
Coming Tuesday on The Lead Live!
Former Kerrville Mayor Bill Blackburn will tell us about what it's now like to be away from meetings and what's next. Kerr Arts and Cultural Center Director Lanza Teague gives us a preview of the upcoming Southwestern Gourd Show, which starts Thursday.
Democrats and Republicans will cast their ballot in primary runoff elections on Tuesday across the state. Tuesday is also a big day nationally, with primary elections in Alabama, Arkansas and Georgia. Here's a look at where to cast your ballot, especially for those in Precinct 2, where there's a contested race for the Republican nomination to the Kerr County commissioners court.
Vote — Primary Runoff Election, 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.
- Precinct 1 (100s on your ballot), River Hills Mall, 200 Sidney Baker South
- Precinct 2, (200s on your ballot), Union Church, 101 Travis St
- Precinct 3, (300s on your ballot), Cailloux Theater, 910 Main St.
- Precinct 4, (400s on your ballot), City West Church, 3139 Junction Hwy, Ingram
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On the agenda
There are a pair of public meetings today, starting with the Kerr County Commissioners Court. Here's a look at what's on the agenda:
- Commissioners Court, 9 a.m. You might want to describe today's meeting as a busy work session — lots of stuff to process. The one intriguing thing on the agenda is a request by the Center Point Independent School District to close the 100 block of Kelly Street during school hours — 7:45 a.m. to 3:45 a.m. If approved, the district would close and re-open the street daily near Center Point Elementary School. The court will also consider a final plat approval for a subdivision in Kerrville that would see about 20 homes constructed on 20-acre parcels. The court could also approve a $1.2 million plan to construct hangars at Kerrville-Kerr County Airport. More than half the funding comes from the Texas Department of Transportation. The city of Kerrville and the county will provide $150,000 each, while the airport will cover the rest.
- Kerrville Independent School District board of trustees meeting, 6 p.m. It's the school year's final meeting, and trustees will recognize student achievement at Tivy High School. The trustees will also hear a budget update and consider sexual health education materials.
Moments to celebrate
Friday was one of those days where we wanted to bend space and time to be at three events happening simultaneously. On Friday evening, we celebrated the milestones of high school graduates in the Doyle neighborhoods, the graduation of the seniors at Ingram Tom Moore High School and the recognition of Leadership Kerr County's latest class of community leaders.
We made it to the Doyle School Community Center for its event, but there were plenty who shared Friday's festivities. It was a notable day for Tom Moore High School because it was the first class where some students were both graduating from high school and earning an associate's degree at the same time.
Ingram's graduation, photo by Tony Gallucci:
The Leadership Kerr County recognition:
The Hill Country Charity Ball makes it happen
While most of Kerr County watched a double rainbow display, about 600 people were eating, drinking, spending and dancing the night away at the 2022 Hill Country Charity Ball. Once again, the ball's board — this year led by Cindy Hernandez — put together a roaring 20s-themed ball that featured plenty of people dressed in period attire. The catered meal was the handiwork of Kerrville's Cartewheels Catering. The dancing wasn't exactly period, but it got people up and dancing.
The benefactor for this year's ball was Arcadia Live, and our best guestimate is that it was a very good night for the downtown venue. Last year's ball generated $152,000 in donations for the Hill Country Youth Ranch, and this year's ball felt like it was on par.
The Charity Ball's board is: Alayna Stanley, Allison Bueche, Allison Jordan, Amanda Chipman, Amber Bond, Becky Schmidt, Bella Shearhart, Bethany Mikeska, Casey Moore, Cassie Salle, Clarissa Aery, Crystal Shotwell, Devan Burns, Devora Loya, Elena Padilla, Hannah Baron, Jennifer Aguilar, Jessica Lenard, Kat Van Kirk, Katie Chambless, Katie Stitely Draznin, Katieann Rippy, Kim Pendergraft, Lauren Risinger, Lee Ann Robinson, Mayra Eads, Michelle Gray, Nahemi Alva, Perla Gonzales, Rachel Schulse and Tammye Riley. Board members are: Cindy Hernandez, president; Annie Reast, president-elect; Markie Atkission, 1st vice president; Breanna Larsen, 2nd vice president; Ashley Vasquez, treasurer; Leslie Lopez, assistant treasurer; La'Cee Paxton, secretary; Arlette Gallego, parliamentarian.
Here are the 10 most popular photos from the night: https://thekerrcountyleadphotography.zenfoliosite.com/zg/2022-hill-country-charity-ball
Why you can't sleep on COVID-19
Over the last week, the number of new COVID-19 cases across Texas continued to climb, and it may be an undercount. The Texas Department of State Health Services reported more than 3,800 cases on Saturday — the second most in May. However, more than 3,000 was the storyline every day last week. Hospitalizations continued to hold steady, with more than 800, including more than 50 children.
Dr. Jeremy Faust, the Harvard emergency medicine expert, helped author a study that examined excess mortality related to omicron in Massachusetts — finding the COVID-19 variant was deadlier than delta. Faust, like many doctors, argues that we can't take new COVID-19 strains for granted.
"Omicron infected lots and lots of people," Faust wrote in his newsletter — Inside Medicine. "But it punished the unvaccinated and the unboosted older and immunocompromised populations, in particular. Another reason a variant with a high mortality product (but a relatively lower rate of severe disease and/or death rate) matters is hospital capacity. A variant that is contagious enough to cause many severe cases at the same time can stretch the healthcare system's overall capacity. That's exactly what we saw during the Omicron wave. Hospitals were crushed with demand, likely reflecting a combination of Covid-19 care, other medical problems, and, importantly, the combination of those (i.e., Covid-19 infections causing dangerous exacerbations in chronic but typically manageable conditions)."
As we've written previously, many of us want COVID-19 to be gone, but the reality is we're stuck with it. And the data from Kerr County is similar to other parts of the country — the virus crushed Peterson Regional Medical Center with high hospitalizations and stresses on the intensive care unit.
Kerr County reported record deaths in the last two years, with 831 in 2020 and 863 in 2021. Before 2020, Kerr County averaged about 745 deaths per year. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which maintains the records, cautions the data is still preliminary, but it shows the tool of COVID-19. Like Kerr County and the state, CDC says at least 182 people who died were from the county, including 11 who died at home. The CDC paints a different picture of the place of death, saying only 49 Kerr County residents may have died in Bexar County. The CDC says 110 died in Kerr County.