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The Lead Oct. 25, 2022: Robert Earl Keen is on The Lead today; the Fatmucket is on the agenda … ah

It's going to be a thrilling show today with Americana music the discussion.

Good morning, Kerr County!

The daytime portion of Monday's storm was less than inspiring. Quite frankly, it was just sort of icky with plenty of humidity. The nighttime winds, however, were interesting and worrying when some big gusts hit the side of the worldwide headquarters. It looks like we've got another chance for rain on Thursday and Friday — let's hope because this last storm was a bust.

On today's The Lead Live!

Americana music takes center stage as Robert Earl Keen comes by to discuss his live podcast Friday night at Arcadia Live! The big news for Keen's Friday event is a special performance by Terry Allen, who rarely performs these days. Keen collaborated with Allen through the years, but on Friday night, Keen invited Allen to perform. While Keen has hosted a podcast for the last two years, the live show is a new wrinkle since he retired from singing live in September. We're also looking forward to Landon Lloyd Miller joining us today. Miller will play on the Arcadia deck at 5 p.m. on Friday before embarking on a multi-state tour. Check out Keen's Americana Podcast here:

Early Voting

8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday-Friday

8 a.m. to 1 p.m., Saturday

  • Hill Country Youth Event Center, 3785 Texas 27 in Kerrville
  • West Kerr Annex, 510 College St. in Ingram

Things to do today!


  • Spooky Cookies — Butt-Holdsworth Memorial Library, 4-5 p.m. Information: (830) 257-8422 The details: Join the library for a spooktacular evening of cookie decorating and get into the Halloween spirit. All ages are welcome. This is a free event, with all supplies provided.

Live music

  • Vinyl Night — Inn of the Hills, 7 p.m. Information: 830-895-5000 The details: Vinyl night is a night of listening to music our favorite way and playing records!

The arts

  • KACC Exhibits — Kerr Arts and Cultural Center, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Information: The details: Three art exhibits. "Artwork by Phyllis & Doug Garey," "Kerrville Art Club Member Show," local artist exhibition and art sale, and "Quilts and Other Art Forms," local quilters exhibit.
  • 39th Annual Western Art Show and Sale — Museum of Western Art, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Information: The details: The Exhibition and sale will bring together more than 40 top Western Artists presenting more than 100 original works of Western Art.
  • Seeing Blue — Hill Country Arts Foundation, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Information: The details: The HCAF juried art show.

We are now entering the Fatmucket era of the Guadalupe River

The Kerrville City Council could formally enter a conservation plan to manage the endangered Guadalupe River Fatmucket — a freshwater mussel found only in the Kerr County stretch of the river.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is expected to list the mussel in the Endangered Species Act, exposing the city to potential litigation if the Fatmucket is bothered. The Guadalupe-Blanco River Authority would manage the conservation plan.

The City Council will consider the plan at 6 p.m. tonight during its regular meeting. The Council first learned of the potential listing during a Sept. 27 workshop, highlighting some of the city's exposure to litigation without a conversation plan.

There's another endangered mussel — the Guadalupe Orb — but its habitat is broader than the borders of Kerr County.

In other conservation matters, the City Council could adopt a tree removal policy — maybe a trickier topic than the Fatmucket. The policy is more about guidelines when removing "heritage trees." Protecting trees was a significant focus of former Mayor Bill Blackburn.

However, the challenge here is balancing property rights with preserving neighborhoods.

And when it comes to planning and development, the city staff will present a revised plan for handling municipal utility districts. In recent weeks, city staff has given the Council various financing options that developers could utilize to build large-scale projects. The challenge with MUDS is that it's a water infrastructure plan and ultimately under the guidance of the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality.

What's coming before the Council is a plan that sets clear guidelines for a developer to meet before issuing a MUD. Just some of the requirements would include:

  • Require all utility facilities that service the MUD to be consistent with the Water and Waste Water Master Plans.
  • Require of the MUD that the city be the water and waste water service provider where it is located within the city or its certificate of convenience and necessity area.
  • Require specific water conservation techniques that will be used to minimize demand levels, including xeriscaping, low impact development ("LID"), rainwater harvesting, grey water reuse and other strategies in consultation with the city.

Habitat Humanity aces its fundraiser

Robert Earl Keen was the official starter of Monday's Habitat For Humanity Golf Tournament, and he was joined by Habitat For Humanity Executive Director Mary Campana.

For Kashma Joseph, the wait for a new home will be worth it, even if it requires her to spend 350 hours helping build it.

Joseph was on hand Monday afternoon as golfers took to the links at the Riverhill Country Club for Habitat For Humanity's annual fundraiser.

With six children, Joseph works at All Plastics and usually overnight. However, she said she's not tired of thinking about the work ahead.

"We will all get our own space," Joseph said of the new home. "It will definitely be good to have a yard."

For Habitat for Humanity Executive Director Mary Campana, this was a big day — and her first fundraiser since taking over earlier this year.

"This will build two pads," said Campana of how the fundraiser will build the foundations of two homes.

Mark Keller, left, and Tim Huchton head out onto the golf course at Riverhill Country Club on Monday.

The event started with more than 70 golfers when singer-songwriter and Kerrville resident Robert Earl Keen announced the start. Keen also donated a guitar for a closest-to-the-pin contest.

Kerr County's chapter of Habitat For Humanity was founded in 1990, and has built more than 100 homes, with more in the works. Campana said there's a long waiting list for homes, and the need remains heavy.

However, Joseph and others are looking forward to the opportunity to set down roots.

"It will be nice not to have to move anymore," Joseph said.

It helps to pay attention

During Monday morning's Kerr County Commissioner's Court meeting, Precinct 1 Commissioner Harley David Belew chastized Fred Henneke and Chris Hughes for saying the Kerr County Animal Services staff treated animals inhumanely.

"Our animal control was characterized as being inhumane today; I take issue with that," Belew said. "I think they're doing a great job over there, and that was uncalled for. That's not the point of this. Sometimes you put a little bit too much sauce on it and I think that was it. I don't appreciate it."

However, no one suggested that the staff treated animals inhumanely; they pointed out Kerr County's crummy facility.

Belew spent two minutes on his phone while Henneke made his remarks to the court. Belew carries two phones — each in a breast pocket of his fishing shirt — and as Henneke spoke about the animal shelter, Belew started fussing with his second phone.

"The only way to describe the current facility is inadequate and inhumane," Henneke said as Belew worked his phone. "The county has the land to create a facility and take care of those animals and the owners who love them."

Hughes's comments echoed Henneke's — there was no questioning of the treatment of animals by staff. But that didn't stop Belew from expressing outrage that the two pro-bond figures, who both worked for more than two years to come up with the capital facilities plan, may have slighted the animal shelter's staff.

The only outrage may come when Belew realizes that his phone shenanigans are public record.

The tattler

We've referred to George Baroody as a persistent gadfly, but maybe we should change it to the tattler.

Baroody is a former Kerrville City Councilman and a frequent critic of the city's management. His latest crusade is to warn the public about a decision the City Council enacted on Oct. 11 to create a public facility corporation. This financing mechanism provides property tax exemptions to developers who build apartments.

To be fair, Baroody does have a point — these incentive programs ace out other agencies and governments for property taxes. City officials said there are other ways to make up those revenue losses.

Baroody, however, has launched an effort to warn the Kerrville Independent School District and the Kerr County Commissioner's Court about the impending doom of this project.

"It is essentially creating an unfunded mandate to each of those taxing agencies," said Baroody, adding that the county could pay the price for the city's housing.

Of course, the school district can do the same kind of deal if it needs to build affordable housing for the staff or acquire a building. The county could create a housing authority to utilize a public facilities corporation.

Barood spoke at the KISD board of trustees meeting last week, but his central focus is if the city actually told county and school officials about their plan. He hasn't received an answer — yet.

An update on COVID-19

The Texas Department of State Health Services is winding down its COVID-19 reporting, but the virus is still taking lives. The virus killed another Kerr County resident in recent weeks — at least the third death since DSHS started limiting its reporting. The state's Kerr County death toll is 196, but The Lead's count is far higher. It's unclear when the deaths happened.


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