The Lead Oct. 31, 2022: Plenty of treats around Kerr County; A monolith of design in Hunt

The weekend was busy, today will be even busier with Halloween events all around.

Good morning, Kerr County!

Well, we could see some rain tonight for the trick-or-treating! That's right, rain — the strange and elusive substance from the sky. The National Weather Service says it is a 50% chance. We'll bet on disappointment at this point. We could see another storm on Friday, but that's about 20%.

On today's The Lead Live!

We'll decorate cookies because, apparently, some folks think that's bad. Read more about that further down. Our usual cast of Gilbert Paiz and Andrew Gay from Texas Hill Country Advisors and Leslie Jones of the Kerrville Convention and Visitors Bureau will discuss their stuff and things. Join us at 9 a.m.

We're back to early voting!

Don't forget to vote


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

About 17% of Kerr County's voters cast their ballots in the first four days of early voting. In 2020, 21% cast their ballots in the first four days.

Things to do today


  • Solar System Smorgasbord — Riverside Nature Center, 1 p.m. Information: The details: Join The Riverside Nature Center for an update on celestial happenings from Kerrville to Saturn. Speaker Jeff Stone, Space Shuttle In-Flight Maintenance Engineer, amateur astronomer, telescope maker, and member of Kerr County friends of the night sky.


  • Schreiner University's Drive-Thru — Schreiner University, 5 p.m. Information: The details: Schreiner University's Student Activities Board, staff and faculty are hosting this Halloween Drive-Thru event that is free and open to the public. Booths will be around Acorn Loop. Participants will enter the Memorial Blvd. entrance to campus, and traffic will be directed one way around the campus loop. Trick or Treaters will stop to get candy as they pass through and never even leave their vehicles.
  • Trunk or Treat — Ingram Events Park, 5 p.m. Information: The details: Trick or treat at the neighboring Loop stores and Trunk or Treat in the Event Field. Check out the police cars, lots of candy and lots of fun.
  • Trunk or Treat — Zion Lutheran Church, 5:30 p.m. Information: The details: Bring your trunk and some treats to serve the children of our community. Safe, fun fellowship and lots of candy.
  • Family Fright Night — Louise Hays Park, 5:30 p.m. Information: The details: The Parks and Recreation Department would like to invite all ghosts, goblins, and creatures of the night to join in for an evening of safe and traditional family fun at the park. Activities include trick or treating, games, a costume contest and more.
  • Trunk or Treat — Ken Stoepel Ford, 5 p.m. Information: (830) 257-5553 The details: Free hot dogs, treats, games and a bounce house. Open to the public.

Just when you can't get any dumber — this arrives

The ongoing controversy around the Butt-Holdsworth Memorial Library took another weird turn — a cookie conspiracy. One of the more unfortunate terms used by the QAnon-fed folks is that all LGBTQ+ people are sexual groomers. It's a demeaning analogy. Protesters used the term to attack the library staff verbally. However, we saw a new twist in an email to the city staff and City Council. Brace yourself.

"My recollection is that the lollipop was the No. 1 Tool in the LGBTQ+ Children's Grooming Toolbox, and it was exposed," wrote Robby Hurt in an email. "I am starting to wonder if it has been replaced by the "Cookie" and Cookie Decorating is one of the new tools of choice. I have not read the job descriptions of any library personnel but would think Cookie Decorating more appropriately belongs in the home, high school Homemaking Class, and Culinary Institutes.

"If your library personnel has time for this, it sounds like you could easily reduce the number of personnel and use the funds somewhere else. They need to stay in their lane."

Look, the library does many things to introduce patrons, from Lego clubs to simple cooking. It's fairly routine for the librarians to make Gingerbread Houses at Christmas and other fun things. We can't have fun anymore.

Speaking of dumb

Last week, we told you about this semi-threatening email from a reader who suggested we "Be Careful" because this is a conservative community. Turns out he knows incoming Precinct 2 Commissioner Rich Paces, who was critical of our reporting. So, we called him on his alleged threat, and then we got this response:

"You need to get a grip regarding "Be Careful" as there was no threat intended! If you're going to dish it out, learn how to take it! Obviously, you are a little paranoid regarding to those that disagree! BE CAREFUL was merely advice!"

But the difference here is that we don't threaten people. In the super-heated era of political virtue signaling, it's hard not to take words like "Be Careful" as anything but a threat.

Final bit of dumb

Proposition A, B and C supporters said they had a drive-by flip-off by a group of women on Saturday at the Hill Country Youth Event Center. Generally, the demonstrations of support are benign, with supporters and opponents holding signs and exchanging polite greetings. That may be changing in an age of political overkill.

Mentors needed

When we hosted our week of nonprofits on The Lead Live in August, the underlying theme of those 38 interviews was a need for volunteers. The issue came to light again with a need for volunteer mentors for Kerrville Independent School District elementary schools and for BCFS Health and Human Services.

Both organizations need adult mentors to pair with children. Both require some stringent participation requirements, but it's a worthy cause. Monica Allen, who leads the mentoring program at BCFS, said an hour a week could make a significant difference in the lives of the children the nonprofit serves.

However, it can be a hard sell.

"I've been here almost a year and I've signed up three myself," Allen said of the mentors. What makes it hard for Allen is seeing her at-risk children not served.

Over at KISD, Meredith Evans and Evie Lozano are looking for adult mentors to serve in elementary schools.

"We'd really like to find mentors that want to work with kids one-on-one," Lozano said.

"The children absolutely love their time with the mentors," Meredith Evans said.

To learn more about mentoring at KISD:

To learn more about mentoring at BCFS:

A monolith of a home in Hunt

Hunt's Monolith House offers commanding views of the Guadalupe River.

Just before the coronavirus pandemic shut the world down, Ueli Schlunegger had two construction projects in mind — a hotel in Fredericksburg or a state-of-the-art home along the Guadalupe River in Hunt.

And then the pandemic struck, devastating the hospitality industry almost immediately. A veteran hotelier, Schlunegger moved to plan B — the proof-of-concept house along the river.

The only problem? Could he build a massive concrete home just above the 100-year floodplain of the Guadalupe River?

"Rule No. 1 is, is it under the hundred-year floodplain or not?" Schlunegger said. "We knew it was in a flood zone, but whether it's actually elevation wise high enough did we clear it, and the beauty was the house was built was already anywhere from one foot to about two and a half feet above the 100-year flood plain."

Determining that was a crucial first step in the planning and construction process.

"So that was rule number one for me because there's a lot of hurdles to jump," Schlunegger said.

To get the project going, Schlunegger's EuroTex construction firm dug out a hole for a 52,000-gallon rainwater collection tank. That gave Schlunegger enough fill to lift the home above the floodplain. And this was no small task because Schlunegger's vision was a 5,200-square-foot home built from concrete.

EuroTex is a design-build company owned by Schlunegger, and his focus is on tilt-up concrete walls. The concrete walls are durable and allow a vertical design element that helped give the home its nickname — the monolith house.

However, this is a collaborative project between father and daughter. Sarah Schlunegger is a climate scientist, but she had plenty of input in the design, including the interiors. The collaboration was a mixture of in-person and calls — she lives in New York. But the two leveraged their skills to build a home with a 60-foot wall of glass and concrete that provided sweeping river views from two guest suites, the living and dining rooms and the main suite.

There's an equally impressive guest house — arguably the most intimate space in the home. It sits on top of the rainwater reservoir and behind the second garage. The view is a little bend of the river, halved by a pooling calmness before transitioning to some rapids as the river heads east toward Ingram.

The living and dining rooms open entirely to the outdoors to a pool and hot tub, which serve as a wall that doesn't obstruct the view. Ueli Schlunegger built a separate conversation area — shaded under a concrete roof — to house outdoor furniture. It creates a sweeping space, and one The Lead used to host dancer Libbie Horton perform.

"We want to look at the view and so, you know, realize from the get go that when you walk in the front door you want to be able to see kind of the view," Ueli Schlunegger said. "So you have a good first impression is good and you're not looking at furniture, not looking at fences and not look at gates.

"We've designed the house around that concept of as many bedrooms as possible," he said. "The house has three bedrooms that all face and have sliding glass doors. We put all pillow windows in so we have the highest quality possible sliding glass between you and what you see outside if you have the glass closed."

For years, the Schluneggers owned the Inn of the Hills and still own a pair of hotels in Pecos. Using the design-build concept, Schlunegger tilted up the hotels with concrete. Another example is a storage center in Ingram, where Schlunegger defied conventional wisdom to build a customer-centric business loaded with amenities.

The Monolith House is loaded with amenities but comes with a price tag topping $5 million. But for a priceless view of the river, the price may be just right for someone.

How was your weekend?


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Throwback to last years Halloween pics! This was so fun! What is everyone gonna be this year?

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