Good morning, Kerr County!
And the 90s are back. Our brief respite from the high heat of May came to a screeching halt on Thursday when the high reached 93 — 4 degrees above the forecast. This weekend isn't much better, with temperatures expected to be in the mid to high 90s through next week. #FUN. The bad news is there's almost no rain in the forecast — marking the sixth consecutive month where we've finished a month with less than an inch of rain.
On today's The Lead Live!
We've got Kevin Pillow and Isaac Dingler from Wild Birds Unlimited stopping by to give us a preview of Memorial Day bird watching. Chris and Bill Booker will provide a preview of this weekend's big The Beat Goes On Show to benefit drummer Rick Phipps. The fundraiser concert is at Schreiner University on Saturday.
Today's newsletter is sponsored by
The story from Uvalde features twists and turns
Victor Escalon, Regional Director of the Texas Department of Public Safety South, speaks during a press conference on May 26, 2022 in Uvalde, Texas. According to reports, 19 students and 2 adults were killed during the mass shooting at Robb Elementary School, with the gunman fatally shot by law enforcement. (Photo by Eric Thayer/Getty Images)
The aftermath of the horrific mass shooting in Uvalde that left 19 children and two teachers dead made some curious turns on Thursday and then took another deflating move when the husband of one of the slain teachers died of a heart attack.
First, the law enforcement response story was a complete flip flop, with the Texas Department of Public Safety contradicting previous reports that a Uvalde Consolidated Independent School District police officer engaged in a gun battle with the 18-year-old suspect before he entered Robb Elementary School. DPS said that was not the case.
An officer reacts to shouted questions by reporters as Victor Escalon, Regional Director of the Texas Department of Public Safety South, speaks during a press conference on May 26, 2022 in Uvalde, Texas. According to reports, 19 students and 2 adults were killed during the mass shooting at Robb Elementary School, with the gunman fatally shot by law enforcement. (Photo by Eric Thayer/Getty Images)
The comments directly contradict Gov. Greg Abbott and DPS Director Steve McCraw's Wednesday assertions that the suspect was met by a "brave Uvalde Consolidated Independent School District police officer." That wasn't true.
DPS changed that story on Thursday, but it raised more questions — enraging critics of the police response. What was released was a timeline that showed the suspect had 12 minutes where he roamed shooting before law enforcement arrived. The suspect was not killed until at least an hour when a Border Patrol tactical team entered the school.
Thursday was a public relations disaster for Abbott, the DPS and Uvalde Police. Abbott, in particular, has provided a narrative that DPS dismissed on Thursday. DPS has its own problems with the story.
The Wall Street Journal reported that neighbors near the school have become increasingly suspicious of the story, and other experts weighed in about elements of the story. A video emerged that showed parents pleading with police officers to take action, and the video appears to show police tackling and restraining parents.
In other news from Uvalde:
- President Joe Biden will travel there on Sunday to pay his respects to the fallen children and teachers.
- The husband of Irma Garcia, one of the two teachers killed Tuesday, died of a heart attack on Thursday. The family of Joe Garcia said he died of a broken heart after his wife died.
- The Community Foundation of the Hill Country raised $600,000 to support the victims' families. The Community Foundation, based in Kerrville, makes grants to non-profits in a 10-county area, including Uvalde County "We grieve for the children and their teachers who lost their lives in such a violent, senseless way," said Austin Dickson, the Foundation's CEO. "These feelings of sadness and helplessness have not deterred folks from pitching in for Uvalde. We've heard from donors locally and in nearly every state. We'll continue to raise funds for as long as they're needed. Starting next week we will partner with the City and County of Uvalde to begin granting these funds to victims, their families, and others affected by this tragedy."
- Bushing Estes Knowles Funeral Home in Uvalde has brought in a therapy dog named Holly to help with the grieving. The funeral home is providing it services, as are other funeral homes, for free, but the addition of Holly, a poodle mix, is certainly a boost for those who need some extra comfort.
- Meghan Markle, the Duchess of Sussex and wife of Prince Harry, came to Uvalde to place flowers on crosses in the town square.
Britain's Duchess of Sussex, Meghan Markle pays respect at a makeshift memorial outside Uvalde County Courthouse in Uvalde, Texas, on May 26, 2022. Flowers are placed on a makeshift memorial in front of Robb Elementary School after mass school shooting which 21 people killed in Uvalde, Texas on Wednesday. (Photo by Yasin Ozturk/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)
Texas and mental health
On Wednesday, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott attributed Tuesday's mass shooting to mental health — at least that's what he said the mayor and police chief of Uvalde told him.
Abbott seemed ready to accept the suggestion, and usually, Abbott would take the time to brag about how Texas is No. 1 in something, but the reality is the state is dead last in the U.S. when it comes to access to mental health care, according to Mental Health America.
In a report from the non-profit group, Texas was last or near last in every category of mental health access, including those for teens.
NBC News reported that Abbott cut $211 million in funding for mental health programs.
A walk to remember and honor the future
The family of Tivy senior David Palestrant listen to the words of pastors on Thursday during a memorial walk to remember their son, but to also to honor the 2022 graduates of Tivy High School.
Last November, Tivy High School students suffered a devastating loss when senior David Palestrant died in a car crash. On Thursday, Palestrant's parents, Mike and Doreen, hosted a 1.5-mile walk along the Guadalupe River Trail to remember their son. More importantly, the couple wanted to honor the Tivy seniors graduating tonight and remember the children in Uvalde.
"We needed to walk for our community," said Doreen Palestrant. "We needed it for our seniors. This has been a tough year."
Palestrant was riding in a pickup truck driven by a friend, now suspected of driving drunk, when they crashed, ejecting the Tivy High football player.
Doreen and Mike Palestrant, still grieving the loss of their son, have been buoyed by the support from Kerrville's faith community. St. Paul's United Methodist Church Pastor Rev. Glenn Luhrs, First United Methodist Church's Monica O'Donnell and Southern Oaks Baptist Church's Dustin Storms.
First United Methodist Church's Monica O'Donnell offers a prayer for David Palestrant, a Tivy High School student killed in a November 2021 crash.
O'Donnell said David Palestrant was one of her Sunday School students, and she remembered his fun-loving side — something that seems universally shared by all that knew him. O'Donnell said she expected Palestrant would have loved this final week of school and jumping in the river with his fellow seniors.
Palestrant's parents said they are attending tonight's graduation, but they are there to support the seniors earning their diplomas.
"We love Tivy High School and we love (Kerrville Independent School District)," Doreen Palestrant said.
So, they walked. They walked down to the G Street Bridge from Louise Hayes Park and back. They prayed. There were some tears, but in the end, there were good memories of a young man whose life was cut way too short.
The Kerrville Folk Festival kicks off
Legendary Texas singer Ray Wylie Hubbard performs Thursday during the first night of The Kerrville Folk Festival.
With more than 2,000 people in attendance on Thursday night, the 50th anniversary season of the Kerrville Folk Festival got underway — and what a night.
Legendary Texas singer Ray Wylie Hubbard returned to the festival — he played at the first show in 1972 — and got the crowd roaring with his iconic "Snake Farm" song.
For the first time in two years, the festival was able to return to the Kennedy Outdoor Amphitheater, ringed by vendors, food and drink. Last year's show scaled back due to COVID-19, but this year the crowds returned.
Approximately 2,000 people attended the opening night of the Kerrville Folk Festival.
Lloyd Maines and Terri Hendrix, the second acts of the night and regulars in Kerrville, praised the Folk Festival's efforts to return to normalcy and said it felt good to be back in Kerrville. Hendrix announced that she was struggling with a rare vocal disorder that affected her speaking ability, but it certainly didn't affect her singing and harmonica skills.
One of the underlying elements of the Folk Festival is family, and Maines said he had produced a record with the help of his grandchildren, while Hubbard introduced his son, Lucas, who was playing guitar in Hubbard's band.
Starting at 7 p.m., Kennedy Outdoor Theater
- Chris Pierce
- Shanna in a Dress
- Darrell Scott
This is a big weekend!
Suppose you're not interested in going out, doing anything or talking to anyone. In that case, you may want to enter geek mode by streaming two new series that dopped today — the Star Wars story "Kenobi" on Disney+ or the fourth season of "Stranger Things" on Netlfix.
However, if you want to go out, here are some things to consider:
Today, Tonight and later
- Dietert Center Fourth Friday Bingo — Dietert Center, 1-3 p.m. Information: 830-792-4044 The details: A free event. Prizes have been donated. One card per person. Come for lunch at the Friendship Café, and stay for bingo!
- Texas Masters of Fine Art and Craft Show — Y.O. Ranch Hotel and Conference Center, 10 a.m. to 7 p.m., Friday-Saturday; 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Sunday. Information: https://www.texasmasters.com The details: The 19th Annual Texas Masters of Fine Art & Craft Show is an exhibition of some of the finest professional artists and craftspeople from all over Texas in the ballrooms of the Y.O. Hotel and Conference Center. This event is free and open to the public.
Science and Nature
- 101 with a Naturalist — Riverside Nature Center, 10 a.m. Information: https://www.riversidenaturecenter.org The details: Naturalist, author, and columnist Jim Stanley and Texas Master Naturalist and native plant enthusiast John Hucksteadt will be available to meet one on one to answer questions, discuss various topics, or listen to ideas about nature.
- Kerrville Farmers Market — A.C. Schreiner Mansion, 4 p.m. Information: https://kerrvillefarmersmarket.com/ The details: Come down and enjoy a complimentary beer, or buy a handcrafted pizza and enjoy the market.
- Tim Porter and Gary Hatch — The Ridge Marketplace, 6 p.m. Information: https://www.shopsattheridge.com
- Joe King Carrasco — Lazy Days Saloon at Roddy Tree Ranch, 6:30 p.m. Information: https://lazydaysandstarrynights.com/ The details: Known as the King of Tex-Mex rock and roll, Joe King Carrasco, creates a stylistic borderland of pop-rock and Latin rhythms. His cross-cultural stew blends cumbias, vamp, salsa, surf, reggae, blues, and Latin-tinged polkas. With over 24 albums to his name, Joe King Carrasco now spends much of his spare time writing music and relentlessly searching for the perfect desolate beach to hang out with his dogs.
- Ariana Ortiz with Mark Lafon — The Hunt Store, 7 p.m. Information: https://www.thehuntstore.com
- Mishmash Band — Pier 27 River Lounge and Pizzeria, 8 p.m. Information: 830-896-7437 The details: Music set lists reflect the most famous rock and dance songs from the 60s through today.
- Mark 2 — Joanne Marie and Me Wine Bar, Ingram, 6 p.m. Information: (936) 554-8326
- Randy Hopper — Southern Sky Music Cafe, Ingram, 6 p.m. Information: https://www.southernskymusiccafe.com/ The details: Hopper and guests EJ Miller, Jeff Sterzer and Casandra Hashhert will perform.
Saturday, May 28, 2022
- Heart of the Hills Farmers Market — River Hills Mall parking lot, 8 a.m. Information: 830-370-7476
- Criders Opening Night — Criders Rodeo and Dance Hall, 8 p.m. Information: https://cridersrandd.com/band-lineup The details: For 97 years, Crider's Rodeo and Dance Hall has been an entertainment spot along the banks of the Guadalupe River each summer. Camp families, locals & vacationers have all gathered beneath the Old Oak Tree to share friendships, love, and memories every Saturday night from Memorial Day weekend thru Labor Day weekend. From the bright lights of the rodeo action to the beat of the music on the open-air dance floor, there's entertainment for everyone in the family.
- The Beat Goes On — Schreiner University Robbins Lewis Pavillion, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Information: firstname.lastname@example.org The details: Those who know Rick Phipps will be the first to tell you no one would help them more than Phipps. Now Phipps needs some help after fighting COVID-19, resulting in a two-month intensive care unit stay. The support is being drummed up in the community because Phipps is an accomplished drummer — playing with many Kerr County's bands. So, the bands are getting together to hold a benefit concert. Dubbed "The Beat Goes On," the fundraiser's musical lineup is Mike Kasberg Band; Ray Gutierrez; Exit 505 Band; Carlos Dan and the Silver Bullets; Harry and the Hightones.
- Memorial Day Jam — The Ridge Marketplace, Noon to 8 p.m. Information: https://www.shopsattheridge.com The details: The Ridge Marketplace's Ridge Rock Amphitheater will host an afternoon of great live music! Food trucks and a kid zone. The lineup is Josh Murley & Sly, 12-2:30 p.m.; The Jesse Stratton Band, 3-5:30 p.m.; Clay Hollis, 6-8 p.m.
- Blue Oak Band — The Hunt Store, 7 p.m. Information: https://www.thehuntstore.com
- Stacy Antonel — Trailhead Beer Garden at Schreiner University, 7 p.m. Information: https://www.trailheadbeergarden.com The details: Nashville artist Stacy Antonel makes clever, country-leaning Americana that feels vintage and hyper-modern. A
- Starseed — Pier 27 River Lounge and Pizzeria, 8 p.m. Information: 830-896-7437
- Michael Hanscheck — Joanne Marie and Me Wine Bar, Ingram, 6 p.m. Information: (936) 554-8326
- The Gary P. Nunn Music Festival — Southern Sky Music Cafe, Ingram, gates open at 1 p.m., music starts at 3 p.m. Information: https://www.southernskymusiccafe.com/ The details: Join Gary Nunn and guest artists The Wilder Blue, The Cleverlys, John Arthur Martinez, Matt Daniel, Eley Buck Davis, Aaron Lacombe and Boone Holding.