Good morning, Kerr County!
Is that rain this morning? That's what we're hoping for — but without the severe component. The National Weather Service says we have an 80% chance of rain today, with some potential for strong to severe thunderstorms. The storm will help cool things down for Saturday, with highs in the upper 60s. It looks like it will be a mild weekend, and Halloween's forecast seems pleasant, with partly cloudy skies and highs in the upper 70s.
On today's The Lead Live!
Today, we hit the road to Hunt with a visit to the Monolith House — a massive concrete home along the Guadalupe River. It's a stunning home designed and built by EuroTex — a design-build firm from Ingram. We will join West Kerr Chamber of Commerce President Karen Taylor, dancer Libbie Horton, Texas Hill Country Advisors Andrew Gay and Gilbert Paiz and Kerrville Convention and Visitors Bureau President and CEO Julie Davis. The show starts at 9 a.m.
Things to do today!
- Women's College Soccer — Schreiner University, 2 p.m. Schreiner University plays host to Texas Lutheran in a Southern Collegiate Athletic Conference game.
- Haunted Downtown Tours — Kerr Arts and Cultural Center, 5 p.m. and 7 p.m. Information: 830-895-2911 The details: Learn about the history of Kerrville while hearing some of the spooky legends from downtown. Space is limited.
- Bizarre Bazaar — Kerr Arts and Cultural Center, 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Information: The details: Last year, KACC brought a little spooky fun to Downtown Kerrville with the Bizarre Bazaar. This year, KACC extends the event into a two-day event featuring local vendors, artists, and businesses in the Kerrville area.
Science and nature
- Telescopes for rookies — Riverside Nature Center, 7:30 p.m. Information: https://www.riversidenaturecenter.org The details: A fun evening with astronomers to help you understand telescopes. Bring your own telescope or use ours. Please consider bringing a lawn chair.
Crafts and stuff
- Texas Fleece and Fiber Show — Hill Country Youth Event Center, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday: 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sunday: 9 a.m to 3 p.m. The details: Join them on a journey from sheep to shawl, nature to colorway, bees to honey and so much more. You will learn what it means to be stewards of the land, how to make use of what's in your backyard, how sheep interact with their shepherds, what makes wool so amazing (and we include alpacas, llamas, goats and bunnies in the wool class). Whether you are a fiber raiser or enthusiast, farmer or dream of being a farmer, this event will open the doors to your endless possibilities!
- Summer Nicole — Pint and Plow Brewing Co., 6 p.m Information: https://www.pintandplow.com The details: Summer Nicole has a passion for people and music, and intends to share a great time with her audience. Country, folk, Americana, and some pop.
- Landon Lloyd Miller — Arcadia Live, 5 p.m. Information: https://www.thearcadialive.org The details: An up-and-coming singer and songwriter.
- Tim Porter and Gary Hatch — Cafe at the Ridge, 6 p.m. Information: https://www.shopsattheridge.com
- Mark 2 — Joanne Marie and Me Wine Boutique, 6 p.m Information: https://www.facebook.com/wineboutique1
- Time Bandits — Gravity Check Saloon and Arena, 7 p.m. Information: Gravity Check Saloon and Arena
Mary Lou Retton shines at the Business and Innovation Forum
We couldn't attend Olympic gold medalist Mary Lou Retton's speech at Schreiner University on Thursday, but we heard rave reviews from those who attended. We got some terrific pictures of the speech, which was part of the Kerr Economic Development Corp. annual Business and Innovation Forum.
For the second time in two weeks, I've received a semi-threatening email from a reader who appears to be a political ally of Kerr County Precinct 2 Commissioner-elect Rich Paces. The reader warns me to "be careful" about my "opinions" because this is a "conservative" county. I don't know what that means, but attached to the email was this note from Paces: "(Louis Amestoy) obviously doesn't understand that property values also have an impact on city taxes. My statement that city taxes have gone up by 20% was conservative, Too bad he didn't reach out to question the validity of the statement before going to press."
At issue was a mailer sent out by "We The People, Liberty In Action" that contained an unattributed assessment that Kerrville had increased taxes by 20% by passing its bond to pay for the public safety facility. Now, we know it was Paces who authored the 20% figure.
The main issue is disagreement about assessed values versus the actual tax rate. Assessed values are all over the map, but it's a pretty clear-cut and publishable number that the city of Kerrville's tax rate will rise 12.9%, but over the last decade, that increase is just 2.9%. In 2013, Kerrville's tax rate was .56250 and was flat for three years, with year-over-year decreases starting in 2019.
However, Paces argues that it's a 24% increase based on a 10% increase in valuation — meaning the tax revenue went up. Kerrville has no control over skyrocketing valuations — that's the market. What happens if valuations drop? This messaging aims to usurp a trio of Kerr County bond measures but building distrust of the process of paying for new facilities. Without real explanation, Paces and his crew argue that some simple changes can help shore up the county's sagging facilities.
However, part of the problem with Pace's argument, especially regarding the county bonds, is that the state of Texas issued unfunded mandates, including jumping up rural juries from six to 12. Those orders come from Austin, and counties need to pay up. And that could put tax-averse Kerr County into a difficult position — raising taxes, one way or another.
And some of the most thoughtful and conservative people in our community helped determine this course of action, but that doesn't matter when your only answer is to put lipstick on a pig.
More on the "Be Careful"
We're not worried about veiled threats about our efforts here, but it's also a reminder that not everyone supports a free press. The code words are simple: "Be careful with your analysis and comments!" It's a simple statement, but one aimed as a warning. So, we remain committed to the work here in Kerr County — it's not about conservatives or liberals (they're equally irritating). As part of our ongoing efforts, please consider contributing to The Lead with a small donation. Here's the link: https://checkout.square.site/merchant/MLEWCF2K4ASZZ/checkout/YE5IHXVYW4GJ5HUOOKXJDI4E
The great storytelling pivot for Robert Earl Keen and Clara Rose Keen
Just four months removed from his final Kerrville performance, Robert Earl Keen is prepping to return to the stage tonight — but don't expect him to sing one of his hits.
It would be easy to sell out Arcadia Live if he was singing, but tonight's show is something different, a new direction in the famed singer's career — a live podcast.
"If you don't know about podcasts, if you've never listened to one, it's a hard sell to somebody," Keen said. "I mean, they'll go, I always heard about, I don't know what the hell it is. You know, you're like and it's kind of a hard selling unless you've done it, but the thing is, it's just like its own version of an audiobook."
Robert Earl Keen's American Podcast Live — Arcadia Live, 5 p.m. Information: https://www.thearcadialive.org The details: Americana Podcast: The 51st State is a platform dedicated to sharing and expanding on the Americana genre's roots, reach, and definition. Each episode is told from the point of view of the musicians that have dedicated their lives to it. Robert Earl Keen, an Americana pioneer, interviews musicians about their unique histories, creative processes, successes, failures, and everything in between. In this episode, a panel of guests of Robert's will have an open discussion, followed by an exclusive set by renowned Texas outlaw country singer-songwriter Terry Allen!
When Keen retired in September from his 41-year career of touring, he made it clear he was going to turn his focus to strengthening his Americana Podcast — a collaborative project with his daughter Clara Rose Keen, who produces the show.
Keen launched the podcast in 2019, expanding it to some live shows, including one at Gruene Hall, but the coronavirus pandemic stalled those efforts. Tonight's show features a live performance by legendary singer-songwriter Terry Allen, who rarely sings live.
"Terry Allen is one of my heroes," Robert Earl Keen. "One of the things he said when I asked him one time, 'I said, well, what happens when you get like, you know, what they call writer's block. He says I'll tell you, Wreckage, that's what he always calls me, Wreckage. He says, " I tell you, Wreckage, what you do is you sit down in a chair, and you don't go sharpen your pencil, and you don't go make a sandwich; you just sit there till it comes to you."
The Keens are hoping to extract those sorts of stories during the 7 p.m. show. Grammy award-winning Americana historian Tamara Saviano moderates a panel discussion between Robert Earl Keen, Clara Rose, Bruce Robison, Jamie Lin Wilson, LoneStarMusic Magazine editor Richard Skanse, and Dr. Ian Peddie.
"I think it's a great opportunity," Clara Rose said. "First up, I'm really grateful to the Arcadia for letting us do this. I do think it's a totally new type of performance that I don't think that they've actually brought in there. I'm really excited about it."
Clara Rose, who now calls Nashville home, takes the recorded pieces and shapes them into a 50-minute episode, which will be available after the first of the year. For Clara Rose, the podcast helped reconnect her to a musical genre she grew up with but one she found hard to explain.
"Well, I didn't really think that there was like a term or a word for it for the longest time," she said. "I think that was one of the biggest struggles that I had growing up was that I didn't know how to describe what was going on at and what kind of music was being played. I genuinely didn't know. It wasn't like a bad place. It wasn't mainstream country and wasn't what was being played on the radio.
"In my senior year of college, I was a painting minor, so I was in the studio all the time and I started finding artists that sounded like what my dad was doing," she said. "I was like, oh, what's this and this and this and you know, it's Turnpike Troubadours, it's Lucero, it's the White Buffalo, Caroline Spence, people like that and I was just like, oh, there's a word."
Building on that intellectual curiosity, Clara Rose wanted to dig deeper into the deep Americana genre by leveraging her dad's insights and connections. As Robert Earl Keen said, podcasts aren't always an easy sell — even when it's your daughter making the pitch.
"She dragged me into this kicking and screaming, and I said, no, no, no, no," Robert Earl Keen said. "And then we started going and one of the things she did right off the bat was sign up with a bunch out of Austin to learn how to you know work a studio."
Even Robert Earl Keen admits he sequestered himself into his tour bus — not always venturing out to listen to the music around him.
"What people don't know is when you live in a bus, I'm saying, 200 days a year," he said. "And it becomes probably the world's greatest echo chamber in that, you know, all your opinions are the same, and they're, and all the music is the same, and you never get out there.
So, in 2019 he got out there by interviewing Zach Chance and Jonathan Clay of Jamestown Revival, and Robert Earl Keen, a legend of Texas music, found some of the best writers and performers.
"I always had felt a little bit of a pang of guilt about that but the fact was, I just didn't have any real reason to start digging into it other than just listening to music and I got so far away from music and what was being produced that this just opened up my whole world," Keen said. "What was really surprising was, I do think that there was a pretty big lull in the (2000s), not only just in country music or Americana music but in pop music, even hip hop, there was in the (2000s), it just was soft and weird.
"But now, in the last like 10 years, there are some great people out there," Robert Earl Keen explained. "I mean, really great writers, the production stuff is out of this world. I mean, because there are so many people doing production these days but just the flat-out innate writing talent and seeing talent of some of these people."
Now, Robert Earl Keen is discovering that with his daughter and sharing the stories with all who will listen.
Watch our interview:
Tivy scores a stunning comeback victory, 35-31
A stunning kick return and a late fumble recovery helped Tivy shock Veterans Memorial on Thursday night, 35-31. Trailing 17-0 at halftime, the Antlers roared back in the second half for the biggest win of the season to keep Tivy's playoff hopes alive.
Trailing 31-28 with 1:08 left in the game, Tivy senior Logan Edmonds returned a Veterans Memorial kickoff 86 yards for a touchdown that helped put the Antlers into a 35-31 lead.
After that, it was the defense's turn, and they came up with a fumble recovery by Tanner Beck. Garret Abel forced the fumble.