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The Lead Oct. 7, 2022: Sheriff Leitha offers advice to Biden — close the border

The Kerrville Planning and Zoning Commission approves 7 of 9 short-term rentals

Good morning, Kerr County

On Wednesday night, we noticed that the National Weather Service suggested a chance of rain next week, but that forecast seems to have stalled out. Instead, the forecasters say enjoy the cool mornings because next week expect muggy. #fantastic. Yes, that means we might see a "storm" midweek, but that's about it. That's probably good news for the Kerrville Chalk Festival next weekend — unless it's going to be hot and sticky. Anyway, this weekend will have continued cool mornings — enjoy.

On today's The Lead Live!

We welcome the Heart of the Hills Farmer's Market onto the show. Their market is each Saturday morning at Riverhills Mall. Andrew Gay will join us with the latest in the financial markets. We expect Leslie Jones or Julie Davis to join us for a preview of weekend events! Join us at 9 a.m. on Facebook.

One more day until the bucket-truck rides

The Kerrville Public Utility Board (KPUB) is hosting a family-friendly event to meet our heroes in hardhats while we celebrate Public Power Week!

Please mark your calendars for Saturday, October 8, from 10 a.m.-1 p.m., to join us in Louise Hays Park for a free community event!

This will be a free community event with family-friendly activities that will include taking a ride in one of KPUB’s bucket trucks, arc & spark demos, line worker tool displays, photo ops with our linemen, face painting and more.

KPUB will be providing free hot dogs, chips and refreshments on a first-come, first-served basis, as well as a free t-shirt for the first 100 attendees. For more information:

Speaking of events

Featured Live Music

  • DJ set with Sean Lemaster & Esteban Garza — Arcadia Live, 5 p.m. Information: The details: Enjoy live tunes being spun on the turn table on Friday night on the deck overlooking the Guadalupe River.

High school football

  • Ingram Tom Moore at Luling, 7 p.m.
  • Tivy at San Antonio Pieper, 7 p.m.
  • Center Point at Charlotte, 7 p.m.
  • Smoking for Jesus Christian Ministry School at Our Lady of the Hill, 7:30 p.m.

Science and nature

  • 1-on-1 with a naturalist — Riverside Nature Center, 10 a.m. Information: The details: Naturalist, author, and columnist Jim Stanley and Texas Master Naturalist and native plant enthusiast John Hucksteadt will be available to meet one-on-one to answer questions, and discuss various topics, or listen to ideas about nature.

The performing arts

  • The Legend of Sleep Hollow — Hill Country Arts Foundation and Point Theatre, 7:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday, 2:30 p.m. on Sunday through Oct. 23. Information: The details: Held in the Elizabeth Huth Coats Indoor Theater, it begins when Ichabod Crane, a slightly goofy schoolmaster, comes to the farming community of Sleepy Hollow with all his worldly possessions. He's looking for a good life and a wealthy wife who will supply it. Once he sets eyes on the local beauty, Katrina Van Tassel, he's sure his dream will come true. Unhappily for Ichabod, Katrina has a boyfriend… the boisterous Brom Bones. At a party, Ichabod proposes marriage to Katrina, but is booted out by Brom and forced to make his way home through a terrible storm. In the dark, there's something shadowy and towering intent on taking Ichabod's life — the Headless Horseman! Poor Ichabod has to outrun the galloping phantom! Does he? No one knows for sure because the schoolmaster is never seen again.

Live music

  • Welcome Home Festival — Kerrville Folk Festival. Information: Friday's opening night schedule: 7 p.m., Big Cedar Fever; 8 p.m. Michael McNevin; 9 p.m., Blue Water Highway; 10 p.m., Soul Man Sam.
  • Jim Turner — Cafe at the Ridge, 6 p.m. Information: 830-896-0420
  • David Miner — Inn of the Hills, 9 p.m. Information: 830-895-5000. The details: Miner's style is a fresh take on an old classic. Honoring his heroes and the timeless style of the country music of yesterday, while still writing music from an authentic perspective.
  • Bill Mahko and Friends — Joanne Marie and Me Wine Boutique, 6 p.m. Information:
  • Scott Sean White — Southern Sky Music Cafe, 6:30 p.m. Information:


  • First Friday Wine Share — Cafe at the Ridge, 6 p.m. Information: 830-896-6600 The details: A fun way to meet new or different wines, people and places. Please bring no more than one bottle of wine per every two people. Singles may feel free to bring a bottle every other month.


  • Learn to Belly Dance — Kerr Arts and Cultural Center, 6 p.m. Information: 830-895-2911 The details: $10 per class, or a comparable trade e.g., art, jewelry, wine or even shiny pebbles, because the teacher, a.k.a Lorien, is part crow and loves shiny things! Bring a yoga mat, a bottle of water and a friend! Come Shimmy with us!

Markets and sales

  • Kerrville Farmer's Market — Butt Holdsworth Memorial Library, 4 p.m. Information: The details: There are some key changes to the market, with new management, and some additions and subtractions to the lineup. There's a wide variety of locally sourced produce, meat, eggs, bread, cheese, beer, wine and a selection of prepared food, all sourced within the Texas Hill Country.

The Arts

  • Vicki Keese Exhibit — Kerrville Hills Winery, 11 a.m. to 6 p.m., Information: The details: Vicki Keese has an exhibition at Kerrville Hills Winery through the end of October. Stop by and enjoy some great wine and art. The show includes original art to enhance the walls of your home, business and outdoor space.
  • 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.

More short-term rentals, Kerrville P&Z power through it!

Despite having nine short-term rentals on the agenda, Kerrville's Planning and Zoning Commission zipped through the docket, demonstrating some exhaustion with the matter.

On Thursday afternoon, the P&Z approved seven of the nine — outright recommending rejection on one and splitting on another. Property owners can appeal the recommendation to the City Council.

However, it was clear that the P&Z was weary, and when an owner failed to show up, the P&Z moved like Jamie Farr on the Gong Show to dole out rejection. In the coming days, the City Council's decision to restrict short-term rentals to high-density residential, residential transition, R-1A and the downtown arts and cultural zones will come into effect. Until that happens, the P&Z and City Council still face a wave of conditional-use permit approvals already submitted before the new ordinance was adopted.

The lone fight was over a Riverhill residence directly next to the Riverhill Country Club's driving range and first tee. As in most cases, the neighbors complained about the loss of property value, unruly parties and not knowing who was coming and going from the home on Oakland Hills Lane. Larry Howard, the property owner, made it clear he intended to still live in the house — at least part-time — while splitting time along the Texas coast, where he purchased a home.

Four other Riverhill area condos, built initially as guest accommodations for the country club in the 1970s, were also approved. Another home along the south side of Guadalupe Street, which has become ground zero for short-term rentals, was also approved.

Shockingly, the meeting lasted about an hour, but Planning Director Drew Paxton told the commission more short-term rentals are on the way. After the first of the year, the short-term rental boom should slow in Kerrville, but that doesn't mean it will slow in Kerr County, where any property can be turned into a short-term rental with almost no oversight.

The sheriff has advice for President Joe Biden

Kerr County Sheriff Larry Leitha makes it clear how he feels about the situation at the Mexico-U.S. border, and if he had a chance to tell that to President Joe Biden, he would.

"Shut down the border," Leitha said during an interview on Thursday's episode of The Lead Live.

Regularly, Kerr County Sheriff's deputies arrest those suspected of smuggling persons into the country illegally, and those transporting people for profit may surprise.

In only a few circumstances, deputies arrested a smuggler that was later turned over to the Border Patrol because most of those detained were Americans.

"We're really surprised," Leitha said. "The way they advertise, you know, on TikTok and stuff. We've had them from New York. I don't really think they know what they're doing. You know, somebody says, hey, we're going to pay, you know, $10,000. They don't really know Texas law."

And that's what seems to motivate Leitha — the greedy exploitation.

"I mean, we're after the ones that are profiting from them," Leitha said. "I understand they want to come over here. I understand they want a better life. We understand all that, but there's a right way to do that. I happen to know an individual that has got his fiance over there and wants to bring her over here to get married. He's actually an employee of mine, and that's what's frustrating me. They're only like about two years of trying to do it the right way."

Center Point is starting to come to life!

Center Point's Central Provisions, housed in a lovingly restored mercantile, is taking shape in downtown.

A year ago, the historic center of Center Point was anything but lively — sleepy might even be kind. On Thursday, the first signs of an extended renewal emerged when Central Provisions had a soft opening in a beautifully renovated mercantile building constructed as a mercantile in 1906.

The business is the brainchild of Center Point resident Kayte Graham and Kerrville's Beth Bryson. Graham was the former manager of the Kerrville Farmer's Market, and foodies won't be disappointed by the selection. Bryson is running the antiques, and rare finds part of the business.

All sorts of food will be offered for sale at the market.

One side of Central Provisions features antiques, art and books.

But the dream of the building is all that of owner James Stout and his wife, Kim Oliver. The couple took the building at the corner of Texas 480 and Kelly Street and have remade it into something special.

"We want to revitalize downtown," Stout said. "We want to get some unusual businesses in here. This is something we thought the community needed. (Graham and Bryson) fit the bill for the first one."

Stout's renovation included adding an upstairs spacious apartment for his children and another apartment in the back. However, the front of the building is lovingly restored with the original tin ceiling and floors.

Stout is clear in his intention — as a 21-year resident of Center Point, he wants to keep it small. That means he doesn't want to see a crush of development but wants to re-develop what he can to inspire others to do the same.

Just down the street from Central Provisions is the new Zanzenberg Tavern — another lovingly restored project. Graham and her husband, Justin, raise pigs and pecans at their farm — also just down the road. They are well vested in Center Point but this is their first effort at a standalone storefront.

Bryson said she and Kayte Graham came together in June to develop the idea for the store. It now includes Pint and Plow beer, local wines, coffee, pre-made sandwiches, and other foods.

"We've been in the building for less than two weeks," said Bryson as the two women hurriedly prepped for a soft-launch party later Thursday.

The formal opening is slated for Nov. 5, but if you're in downtown Center Point you might want to stop by!

A grand night for the Symphony of the Hills to debut

With conductor Gene Dowdy leading the way, the Symphony of the Hills launched its 2022-2023 season to a standing ovation on Thursday night at Kerrville's Cailloux Theater.

Ricardo Diaz and his wife, Mari, had never been to a symphony concert until Thursday night when they received a pair of tickets to attend the 2022-2023 season opener of Symphony of the Hills.

Diaz commented to The Lead earlier this week that music "soothed his soul." With two tickets to giveaway, The Lead chose Diaz for the tickets. Diaz served in the U.S. military for most of his adult life and served in the Army, Marines and Air Force. He had a 20-year career in the Air Force and spent from 2006 to 2007 in Afghanistan.

Ricardo and Mari Diaz enjoyed their first night at the symphony after receiving tickets from The Lead.

"I play a little bit of guitar, so I know that they have to practice and practice to be that good," Diaz said of the symphony. "With PTSD, my mind is always racing."

But on this night, the Diazes sat back and relaxed to a night of music entitled "When in Rome."

"Listening to the sounds just settled me," Diaz said.

Soloist Nicole Cherry performs Gershwin's Porgy and Bess.

It probably settled a lot of people on Thursday night at the Cailloux Theater. The opening movement was Felix Mendelssohn's Symphony No. 15 in A Major — a 30-minute piece. After intermission, the suite from George Gershwin's "Porgy and Bess," with the University of Texas, San Antonio music professor Nicole Cherry provided the violin and vocal solo that brought most of the crowd to their feet. And the final piece was Ottorino Respighi's "Pines of Rome," a 22-minute movement that was capped by the lower portion of the Cailloux Theater ringed by brass players.

It was a memorable way to start the season, and it's one that Ricardo and Mari Diaz won't soon forget.

Dowdy leading the orchestra on Thursday night.

Schreiner University student and Kerrville resident Phoenix Miller sang the National Anthem to start the concert.

No Symphony concert would be complete without a photo of trumpet lead George Eychner.

UTSA professor Nicole Cherry shines as the vocal and violin soloist on Thursday night.

A well-deserved standing ovation for the orchestra.

We are one week away from the Chalk Festival

Oct. 15-16 at Peterson Plaza at Kerrville's City Hall!

Kerrville Chalk Festival is a family-friendly art event for the Texas Hill Country. More than 65 artists create large-scale chalk drawings directly on the pavement. Kerrville’s downtown becomes a festive canvas for local and regional artists, as wells as invited guest artists from around the United States.

The Festival has live music, many free activities, food trucks, as well as wine and craft beer. It attracts an estimated 10,000 attendees annually. Read about the history of chalk art.

Held at Peterson Plaza in the heart of downtown, the event encourages tourists and locals to dine, shop, and experience the beauty and charm of Kerrville, Texas.

The 2022 beneficiary is Kerrville Arts and Cultural Center (KACC). KACC was founded in 1995 by a group of artists with a mission of providing a show place for local artists and to further the arts and culture in the community. The Center is comprised of sixteen affiliated groups representing over 500 artists and has three distinct gallery spaces. It attracts over 20,000 visitors annually.


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