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The Lead Nov. 22, 2021: We are catching up from the awesome parade; Commissioners will have fun today

The Commissioners Court is talking about the federal funds it is set to receive.


We are on a super turkey feast countdown! For many, this is the best time of the year, representing a much-needed break from the rigors of work, school and stuff — yes, stuff. This week means our best chance of rain in a while — and it lands on Thursday. There's a 40% chance on Thanksgiving, but the alleged storm should clear out of here by the evening.


We've got Kerrville Fire Department Chief Eric Maloney visiting the show to discuss what can be the most dangerous time of the year — turkey frying season. The National Fire Prevention Association discourages the use of the fryers, but they also note that house fires are a real concern on Thanksgiving:

  • Thanksgiving is the peak day for home cooking fires with more than three times the daily average for such incidents. Christmas Day and Christmas Eve ranked second and third, with both having nearly twice the daily average.
  • In 2019, U.S. fire departments responded to an estimated 1,400 home cooking fires on Thanksgiving, the peak day for such fires.
  • Unattended cooking was by far the leading contributing factor in cooking fires and fire deaths.
  • Cooking caused half (49%) of all reported home fires and more than two of every five (42%) home fire injuries, and it is the second leading cause of home fire deaths (20%) in 2015-2019.


On Tuesday, we're talking with Cartewheels — the terrific Kerrville-based caterer and cafe about the holidays.

  • Event planning for the holidays.
  • Quick-and easy things to make that meal better.
  • Gluten-free options and the growth of those products.
  • Are we seeing changing eating habits?

On Wednesday, we're joined by Arcadia Live's Mike Kelliher about the upcoming events at the venue.

We're live from the Kerrville Salvation Army Ray and Joan Kroc Corps Community Center on Thursday for our first-ever Thanksgiving day webcast.


Kerr County Commissioners Court meets today — and this should be

Well, let's say that anytime the Commissioners Court gathers to discuss things, it could get interesting. Today's discussion focuses on what Kerr County should do with $10 million in federal funds related to coronavirus relief.

The prospect of taking the money, along with federal oversight, has led many to speak out against accepting the money. Precinct 4 Commissioner Don Harris wants to talk about how the funds will be managed, while Precinct 1 Commissioner Harley David Belew wants to consider returning the money. That's unlikely with Judge Rob Kelly, who thinks it's important to accept the funding, which could reimburse a wide range of county expenses. One of those expenses could be replacing the arena floor at the Hill Country Youth Event Center — a cost expected to be included in the county's planned bond measure in 2022.

Another interesting agenda item is one by Kelly about Kerr County Animal Services. The KCAS doors are frequently locked, the building closed to the public, and there have been complaints, including from Kerrville Pets Alive, a non-profit that works closely with the county, that KCAS staff is unreachable.

The meeting is at 9 a.m. and should be viewable on the county's YouTube channel.

COVID-19 takes another Kerr County life

The third Kerr County resident to die from COVID-19 in November was reported Saturday by the Texas Department of State Health Services.

The latest person died in an out-of-county hospital on Nov. 8, according to a spreadsheet maintained by DSHS. Earlier this week, Peterson Health reported its first COVID-19 death in more than a month when one of its intensive care unit patients died. That death happened on Nov. 16.


The Kerrville Lighted Christmas Parade was fabulous. It was good to see thousands of people downtown enjoying more than 80 entries roll down Water Street and then hang a right on Earl Garrett Street.

Here's our favorite moments from the parade:

He's here; he's there, he's every … where

As we noted on our Instagram page, the great Clifont Fifer, the parade's grand marshall, was the third entry in the parade — being driven by Peterson Health's Lisa Winters. However, Fifer wasn't satisfied to go through the parade once, and he circled back and jumped on the Doyle Community Center's float. It was legendary.


View more on Instagram.
There are reports that Clifton Fifer cloned himself

The city's float was preposterous in its messy glory

Look, we're not exactly fond of snow and cold weather here at The Lead — we admit this bias. However, it was pretty remarkable to see the city of Kerrville's foam spewing float cruise down the street, leaving heaping piles of foam everywhere. It was glorious.

The prettiest float of the day

After going through our photos, we were struck by the beauty of the Hill Country Home School Association's float. The tree in the middle, little touches, and kids were a great way to celebrate the season.

What you missed

The music played before the parade by the Hil Country Youth Orchestra, the Schreiner University Brass Ensemble, Symphony of the Hills and Ingram Tom Moore High School's jazz band, was spectacular. The only problem? No one was there to watch it. We need to correct that in the future.

George Eychner performing with Symphony of the Hills.

Santa's appearance

The Kerrville Santa Claus is a man of many talents. Not only can he navigate the world, delivering presents, while dealing with magical hoofed critters, but he can also preach the word of the Lord and auction off a trip to Tahiti.

Finally, the political optics

In an apolitical Christmas parade, a political gesture was seemingly on display when Kerrville City Councilman Roman Garcia chose not to ride on a float with Mayor Bill Blackburn and fellow councilmembers Brenda Hughes, Kim Clarkson and Judy Eychner.

While Garcia's decision doesn't flout rules governing the parade on political messaging, it illustrates a growing divide within the Kerrville City Council.

The last two City Council meetings have had contentious moments, with Garcia battling other members about rules and procedures. He also provided a critical analysis of the council's actions over financing the public safety building by reminding them he had motioned to put the project on the November ballot as a general obligation bond.

In an outline about the parade's rules, the city said: "No political campaigning activities are permitted in or during the parade. The City of Kerrville does not endorse any political candidate, political party or political issue. Existing officeholders are invited to march or participate in the parade to represent the office that they hold, but they cannot promote themselves as candidates as part of that or any other unit. Candidates for public office who are not currently officeholders can participate in the parade but cannot mention or reference their candidacy for public office. No political information of any kind may be handed out, promoted or displayed as part of any unit including political signs or shirts, political campaign advertising, literature, balloons, stickers, posters, handouts, or flyers."

Even before the parade's start on Saturday night, the city issued a statement — as required by state law — that the City Council, along with other board and commissions, would likely be together at the same time.

Check out the photo galleries

We took more than 2,500 photos at the event — a challenging photographic effort because of the light and movement — but it was still a fun night to capture the essence of our community.


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