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The Lead Nov. 29, 2021: Well, he's not going to run; COVID-19 variant drives the news

Matthew McConaughey says the time is not right to serve politically.


It's the most wonderful time of the year — at least for the next two days. Our reasoning for the wonderfulness? No public meetings — at least until Thursday.


Rev. Bert Baetz will be our guest on today's episode of The Lead Live. Baetz is the pastor at Kerrville's St. Peter's Episcopal Church. We'll talk about the coming of the Christmas season, the continued challenges of working in a time of COVID-19 and how he's raising an aspiring author and entrepreneur. To continue our theme of religious shows, First United Methodist Pastor David Payne will be joining us on Wednesday.


Photography is a big part of the Kerr County Lead, and we're offering this special calendar/planner as a way of supporting our work — not to mention it makes a great Christmas gift.

The photos are all from The Lead's editor Louis Amestoy, with a focus on the beauty of Kerr County. This effort would not have been possible without the support of the Amestoy family, Herring Printing, Joe Herring Jr., and the critically important eye of Kerri Wilt.

If you would like to purchase one of our calendars, they are just $15. Here's the link:



Girls Night Out

Arcadia Live

6 p.m.

Girls Night Out Holiday Shopping Market, $10. With the purchase of a ticket, your name will be at the door for entry and you'll be automatically entered in our raffle drawing. Additional raffle tickets can be purchased for $10.


Hill Country Christmas Concert

Calvary Temple Church

6:30 p.m.

Pastor Del's Annual Christmas Concert. Start the Christmas season off with some wonderful Christmas songs. Admission: One non-perishable food item. Dessert reception to follow.

Symphony of the Hills: "Holiday Hopes Dream Pray Love"

Cailloux Theater

7:30 p.m.

In this concert, a professional symphony orchestra drawn from the Hill Country and Central Texas celebrates brother and sisterhood's thoughts and prayers, featuring the Grand Symphony Chorus. Tickets are $25.


Kerrville Farmer's Market

A.C. Schreiner Mansion and Butt-Holdsworth Memorial Library campus

4-6 p.m.

Get your goods for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Or, even better, enjoy a freshly made pizza and a glass of beer.

Live Music by Voodoo Lengua

The Hunt Store

6 p.m.

The Hunt's store description is short and sweet: Musically speaking, a different kind of band.

Possessed by Paul James and Ian Moore

Arcadia Live

7 p.m.

Here's what Arcadia Live executive director Mike Kelliher said: "Ian Moore is a super guitar player. He's got a new album out, and he's touring. Of course, our local Possessed By Paul James is opening up the show. This should be an amazing show."

The Four Freshmen: Christmas

Cailloux Theater

7:30 p.m.

Celebrate the holidays with the Legends of Four-Man Jazz. For more than 50 years, The Four Freshmen have performed with the same unmistakable sound of the original group – a vocal harmony like no other. As the 22nd incarnation of the Four Freshmen, their longevity proves they are doing it right. Tickets are $15 to $150.


Our little rainstorm on Saturday produced a whopping tenth-of-an-inch of moisture — that's it. The data is from the National Weather Service's station at the Kerrville-Kerr County Airport. However, the other news here is that we've had just 1.96 inches of rain in November — about half of what is normal, according to the NWS. It was a spectacularly mild month with average highs at 70 degrees and lows in the mid 40s.


Right. So, the Kerrville Planning and Zoning Commission will complete 2021 with one of its busiest meetings of the year. It will consider new short-term rentals, the annexation of two significant parcels and approval of a new gas station on Sidney Baker Street South.

The commission meets at 4:30 p.m. on Thursday at Kerrville City Hall.

One of the most interesting discussion points could be the annexation of more than 168 acres around the Peterson Regional Medical Center and the Kerrville State Hospital. There's no defined purpose for the annexation, but the land is part of a zoning district in the city's extraterritorial jurisdiction that has a mixed-use designation.

Another annexation proposal would be 6 acres along Holdsworth Drive and just west of Paschel Street that would clear the way for a long-planned apartment complex.

The commission will also consider approving conditional-use permits for six short-term rentals — all likely to be vacation rentals. Another project the commission will consider is allowing Kerrville-based Mini Mart to demolish and rebuild a gas station and convenience store at the corner of Sidney Baker South and G Street.


Matthew McConaughey won't run

In a Twitter announcement, Academy Award-winning actor Matthew McConaughey said he wouldn't run for Texas governor. While he didn't rule out a future run, McConaughey said he's focused on working with entrepreneurs and businesses, building common values.

See @McConaughey's post on Twitter.


Get used to this — Omicron. Yes, this is the latest variant of COVID-19 and it's raising concern among public health officials and scientists, but at least one that we follow says not so fast.

Dr. Jeremy Faust, a Harvard physician, specializing in emergency medicine, writes for the Meta Bulletin program (The Lead is part of this Meta-funded project). He argues that we need more data.

"Just about everything we know about Omicron is based on genetic information that has emerged in just the last five days," Faust wrote on his newsletter. "That implies that Omicron technically belongs in the "variant of interest" category, not the elevated "variant of concern" category. However, Omicron remains worrying and, in my view, it warrants intense investigation. Let's be safe and assume the worst for the next week or two before we de-escalate."

Part of Faust's argument is that the World Health Organization may have jumped the gun on elevating the variant to one of "concern," and that seems to be the consensus among American researchers and doctors. Dr. Anthony Fauci, who leads the nation's COVID-19 response, said it's too early to discuss any precautions.


Just the mere discussion of Fauci will send some people into an absolute tizzy, including Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, who suggested that Fauci face prosecution for the COVID-19 response.

See @tedcruz's post on Twitter.


The aforementioned Dr. Faust published a study in the Journal of American Medical Association that COVID-19 was the leading cause of death among young adults in Texas in 2020.

"During the peak of the 2020 outbreak, Covid-19 was killing more Texans ages 25-44 per month than HIV/AIDS killed per month during the worst years of the AIDS crisis in the United States," Faust wrote. "Monthly AIDS deaths in this age group peaked at around 352 deaths per million adults ages 25-44 in Texas in 1994. In July of 2020, 404 Covid-19 deaths per million occurred in that demographic."

Read the story here:


Since Sen. Ted Cruz was attacking science, the Texas Department of State Health Services published a study examining the number of unvaccinated contracting the Delta variant of COVID-19. The realization?

Of those infected, 72% were unvaccinated. The study found 81% of the deaths were those unvaccinated. The study found that most of the deaths were unvaccinated people between 50 and 64. At least 84 deaths were of those unvaccinated between 18 and 29. Those in the 18-29 demographic were 37 times more likely to die if they were unvaccinated.

"From January 15, 2021 to October 1, 2021, unvaccinated people were 40 times more likely to experience COVID-19-associated death than fully vaccinated people," DSHS reported. "The impact of vaccination generally varied somewhat between age groups. The small number of deaths among the 12 to 17 and 18 to 29 year age groups made the impact estimate less stable and more difficult to interpret for those groups."


While Dr. Fauci has been under constant assault, one of the leading vaccine experts is Dr. Peter Hotez, who is right here in Texas. He's been busy on CNN, MSNBC and other news outlets discussing the importance of vaccinations.

"Finally, remember that Omicron like Alpha/Delta arose from an unvaccinated population," Hotez wrote on Twitter on Nov. 26. "Had G7 leaders committed to vaccinating the African continent, we would not be having this discussion. There's not enough mRNA/adeno to vaccinate Global South, but lots of our protein vaccine."


Peterson Health is offering people a chance to receive a COVID-19 vaccine, including booster shots, starting at 7:30 a.m. on Dec. 4 at Kerrville's First United Methodist Church, 321 Thompson Dr.

Peterson said this clinic is for people 12 years and older that need their first dose, second dose, or booster, as well as the newly approved Pfizer pediatric COVID-19 vaccine for children ages 5-11. The FDA and CDC have approved booster vaccines for anyone ages 18 or older.

If you have received the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine, a booster can be administered after at least six months from completing the primary COVID-19 series. If you have received the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, you are eligible for a booster if you are 18 years or older and have received your initial vaccine at least two months prior.

The CDC said vaccines can be interchangeable as boosters. If you received one from the first series, you could receive a different vaccine as a booster. In addition, Peterson Health will be offering the newly approved COVID-19 Pfizer vaccine for children ages 5-11. Currently, Pfizer is the only approved vaccine for children in this age group at this time.


Schreiner University senior basketball player Gabby Ivarra has some of the best socks we've seen in a while. What do you think?

Bye-Bye, according to Schreiner's Gabby Ivarra.


The Schreiner University men's basketball team will get a taste of the big-time tonight when it plays an exhibition game at Abilene Christian — an NCAA Division I program.

The Mountaineers tip against Abilene Christian at 7 p.m., and they are facing a team that has pushed Utah and Texas A&M to start the season. The Wildcats took A&M into overtime before losing 81-80 in overtime at College Station.

This is not the first meeting between Schreiner and Abilene Christian. The teams have played four times previously, all Abilene Christian victories. The last meeting was in 2018, when Abilene Christian rolled to a 93-53 victory. In 2016, Schreiner lost 73-59 — in a close game until the final minutes. In that contest, Schreiner's Keenan Gumbs scored a game-high 15 points.

Schreiner's Demauria Miles has led the Mountaineers in scoring the last two games.

While the men are playing Abilene Christian and then later Sam Houston on Thursday, Schreiner's surging women's team will play Incarnate Word in San Antonio on Saturday. Incarnate Word is 1-3 on the season. Schreiner has won two consecutive games and is now 3-4 on the season. Read more on their Sunday game here:


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