The Lead Sept. 7, 2022: There was plenty of maroon for Uvalde; Schreiner welcomes a record class

It's a full day of events on The Lead, including the Grand Opening of Kerr County's third Whataburger.

Good morning, Kerr County!

While everywhere west of Texas is baking under record heat, we're seeing reasonably pleasant weather here in the Hill Country for much of the next week. Temperatures will be in the low 90s and under sunny skies. Did we mention pleasant?

On today's The Lead Live!

Fitch Estate Sales' Rachel Fitch will join us today for the latest in what's going on with her businesses, her observations about the community and the prospect of welcoming a new grandbaby. On a programming note, the Kerr Economic Development Corp. Executive Director Gil Salinas joins us Thursday to update us on the regional economy.

Today's newsletter is sponsored by KPUB

Mark your calendar for Public Power Week Oct. 2-8, and 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:

Today's events


  • Parkinson's Support Group — Peterson Hospice & Home Health Building, 4-5 p.m. Information: (361) 813-6410 The details: Parkinson's Support Group meets the first Wednesday of each month from 4-5 p.m.

Food and fun

  • Whataburger Grand Opening — Kerrville Whataburger on Memorial Highway, 10 a.m. Information: Kerrville Area Chamber of Commerce The details: Since 1950, Whataburger has proudly served a bigger, better burger. It all started when a young entrepreneur named Harmon Dobson had a bold idea: to serve a burger so big that it took two hands to hold, and so good that after a single bite, customers couldn't help but exclaim, "What a burger!"
  • The Flyin A's — Trailhead Beer Garden at Schreiner University, 7 p.m. Information: The details: The husband-and-wife duo of Hilary Claire and Stuart Adamson—better known as The Flyin' A's — are on the cusp of releasing their fourth independent album. Their latest album, "You Drive Me Crazy," is a top-shelf complement to the pair's engaging, fun, contagiously enjoyable live shows, "You Drive Me Crazy" is right on the money. The album has received critical acclaim.
  • Karaoke — Pier 27 River Lounge and Pizzeria, 8 p.m. Information: (830) 896-7437 The details: Warm up your vocal cords and get ready to sing the night away! If you've never tried karaoke before, you will not regret it.
  • The Pickers Circle — La Escondida 1962, 7 p.m. Information: La Escondida 1962 The details: Anyone can join. Just show up.

Markets and sales

  • Kerr County Produce Market Day — The Big Red Barn, 10 a.m., Information: 830-896-7330 The details: Kerr County Produce Market Day (The Big Red Barn). Local Hill Country wholesale warehouse distributor for the finest fruits and vegetables. Open to the public.
  • Friends of the Library Book Sale — Butt-Holdsworth Memorial Library, 1–3 p.m. Information: The details: Looking for a great read? Or better yet, come down and support the work of Friends of the Library. Maybe find a banned book? That sounds like a fun day to us.

Wine and spirits

  • Wild West Wednesday — Museum of Western Art, 5:30 p.m. Information: The details: Join us and meet the folks from Hill Country Distillery. Hear about their products, try out a sample, and enjoy our latest exhibits.

Art exhibits

  • Kerr Arts Exhibits — Kerr Arts and Cultural Center, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Information: The details: Three art exhibits. Paintings by James Crouse, "Images" KACC judged membership show, "Photoquest" a judged exhibit featuring images captured by members of the Kerrville Camera Club. Artists reception August 27th, 1-3 p.m.
  • Luckenbach Legacy, Hondo's Daughter, Becky Crouch Patterson Exhibition — Museum of Western Art, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Information: The details: Becky Crouch Patterson, a fifth-generation Texan whose father was the legendary developer of historic tiny-town Luckenbach, made famous by Waylon Jennings's classic song, "Let's Go to Luckenbach, Texas (Back to the Basics of Love." This is Patterson's original art, described as a marriage of Texas Folk Art and Fine Art, plus textiles, memorabilia and works from her life. In addition to her work, Hondo and Luckenbach artifacts fill three cases.
  • Hill Country Arts Foundation Member's Show — Hill Country Arts Foundation, Ingram, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., Information: The details: Featuring art by HCAF member artists.


  • Hill Country Music — Kerr Regional History Center, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesday-Thursday through Sept. 8. Information: 830-258-1274 The details: An exhibition about the rich history of Hill Country music. Learn how country music was created and helped inspire other music genres, and how a German music teacher, Julius Weiss, helped inspire Scott Joplin to create ragtime and become the "King of Ragtime." The exhibit will feature the Kerrville Folk Festival and how the event inspired the music scene in Texas.
  • Mexico: Splendor of Thirty Centuries — Kerr Regional History Center, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesday-Thursday through Sept. 8. Information: 830-258-1274 The details: An exhibition based on the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the San Antonio Museum of Art's international exhibition, and organized by Humanities Texas, the state affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities. In Mexico, two civilizations have lived and fought across the land and within the soul of every individual. One civilization is native to the Americas. The other originated in Europe, but now is so firmly ensconced that it has become an elemental part of the Mexican character. "Mexico" presents 3,000 years of Mexican culture and history. Photography highlights stone sculptures from prehistoric times, liturgical artifacts from Colonial Days, 19th-century portraits and landscapes, and works on canvas and paper by 20th-century muralists. The exhibition enhances appreciation of Mexico's richness and complexity and its people.

Maroon for Uvalde

Students at Uvalde Consolidated Independent School District returned to school on Tuesday, and students across the country wore the district's maroon colors to show their support.

Of course, Uvalde's plight is now well documented — one that will be inextricably tied to the sorrow of the mass shooting — but there was a national wave of colors to support the students, including those in Kerrville.

Leslie Jones, one of The Lead Live's co-hosts, wore her colors to support the district she attended. Jones attended Robb Elementary School, the shooting site that left 19 children and two teachers dead.

Schreiner announces its largest first-year class

Schreiner University officials knew the incoming class of first-year students was a big group — they may not have expected a record.

However, that's exactly what they got — a 48% increase over last year's class. The class of 2026 has 372 members, and the university tallied 1,193 students — an 8% increase over 2021.

"Demographers tell us college-going students have decreased dramatically in the past several years with more decreases set to occur over the next decade," Schreiner University President Charlie McCormick said in a press release. "The causes of these decreases are many. Certainly, the pandemic contributed to this trend, but even more impactful has been the dramatic decline in birth rates that began in 2008 – 2009.

"But in the midst of these realities, Schreiner recruited the largest first-year class in its history," McCormick said. "This sort of success does not happen because of the efforts of a single person or a single initiative, but instead because everyone at the institution is committed to making a Schreiner education one of the best educational experiences in the state. Just wait to see what happens next."

On the search for a suspect

If you walk into Walmart and take stuff without paying, don't think the Kerrville Police Department will gently ignore it. That's what police investigators are considering in the case of a suspect who walked into Kerrville's Walmart and allegedly walked out with a basket full of unpaid goods. Police said the incident happened Aug. 9 and the suspect left in a dark-colored sport utility vehicle. f you have information about the identity of this suspect, contact the Kerrville Police Department at (830) 257-8181 and reference case No. 2201689.

Volunteers are needed, not always available

The Dietert Center plays an instrumental role in Kerr County in providing food to senior citizens — one done by the power of one of the region's most dedicated volunteer workforces.

That doesn't mean Dietert Center Executive Director Brenda Thompson is without need when it comes to volunteers.

"We can always use volunteers," Thompson said during a recent episode of The Lead Live. During a week of shows, The Lead Live hosted 38 nonprofit groups for interviews about their work in the community, and volunteering was a common theme.

Without volunteers, Beth Palmer, who leads Mustard Seed Ministries at Kerrville's Light on the Hill Ministry, wouldn't have been able to distribute food to an estimated 16,000 families and deliver more than a million pounds of food.

But volunteering is a sometimes complicated metric, and many nonprofit organizations never measure the value of those efforts. Depending on the source, volunteering is in a slow rate of decline, or it's flattened.

A 2019 report by the government-run AmeriCorps found that "volunteers for U.S. organizations and associations are disproportionately female, white, non-Hispanic, and middle-aged."

However, as many in Kerr County can attest, the value of those volunteer hours is frequently incalculable. AmeriCorps valued Texas' volunteer labor at $13.5 billion in 2019. AmeriCorps estimated that 28% of Texans volunteered their time — ranking 37th nationally.

It's hard to calculate locally, but during The Lead's week of nonprofit interviews, many repeatedly expressed the need.

"We're always in looking for people who you know want to work outside help with our landscape or wildscape, but you know what you don't think about is all kind of behind the scenes," said Riverside Nature Center Executive Director Becky Etzler. "I am not a tech-savvy person and I need somebody to help me with the website we lost our webmaster. So, I'm in search of a webmaster. We're looking for people who have organizational skills to help us with getting getting our collections and things cataloged and organized."

For Georgianna Itz, the volunteer coordinator at Kerr Konnect, the lack of volunteer drivers means a longer waiting list for those who need a ride to the doctor or grocery store. Itz said the organization saw a decline with the coronavirus pandemic.

"It's just that when you have a resurgence of COVID and all of this other stuff, people are very leery of joining a new group and volunteering," Itz said.

However, Kerr Konnect, founded as a ride-sharing service for the homebound, does have a base of volunteers — many of whom serve in other organizations.

"We have a wonderful set of 85 volunteers," Itz said. "Sixty-five are drivers, but many of those are in and out because they've got they are winter Texans. They go back and forth. They have other charities."

Then there are the agencies that rely heavily on volunteers to do specialized work with children or those with intellectual disabilities. Groups like BCFS Health and Human Services, MHDD, the Special Opportunities Center, Court Appointed Special Advocates and Big Brothers Big Sisters constantly need volunteers who need time and training to assist their efforts.

"We would not be advocating for our children without the boots-on-the-ground volunteers going out and doing the day-to-day week-to-week interaction with our kids," said Amy Harding, Court Appointed Special Advocates volunteer coordinator. "There are many amazing volunteer opportunities in Kerr County, but this one is unique and different in that you are really building relationships with the children you advocate for, and we're asking for an initial 12 to an 18-month commitment with over 30 hours of training."

Volunteering remains a key part for many in Kerr County, but sometimes it takes continual efforts to remind people to do it.

Here's a wrench to critical race theory in our hometown

During our conversations with nonprofit groups last month, one of the more interesting discussions came from an interview with the Doyle School Community Center — and the landmark's future.

As a segregated school, Doyle School served its community from the early 19th century until the full integration of Kerrville Independent School District in the mid-1960s. The documentation of the successes had at the school, run for years by B.T. Wilson. Doyle's place as a community landmark is without question, but does it deserve broader historic designation?

Earlier this year, several segregated school sites, were officially named federal historic sites by President Joe Biden when he signed the Brown v. Board of Education National Historical Park Expansion and Redesignation Act. And earlier this year, Marfa's Blackwell School earned similar recognition — the only no vote from Texas was Rep. Chip Roy, who represents Kerr County.

However, the case for Doyle is a compelling one.

"We have four historical markers in a two-and-a-half-block area," said Clifton Fifer, a retired teacher, community historian and current employee at Doyle. "The only place you see something like that would be in federal parks. You don't see that in communities."

Doyle is home to the Famous Door, the Mt. Olive Baptist Church, Barnett Chapel Methodist Church and the Doyle School — all state landmarks. All pay tribute to a time when segregation ruled Texas.

"This is where people just pulled together and worked hard and trying to to make something of themselves and of the community," Fifer said.

While times have changed, the Doyle District remains an island inside Kerrville — one that the city is still working on updating.

But here's where things get complicated — explaining that history in Kerrville area schools. Texas is wrestling — a seemingly endless issue — about how to teach its history with conservative activists tamping down on so-called Critical Race Theory and anything involving the LGBTQ community.

Last week, the Texas state school board voted to delay the implementation of the Texas Essential Knowledge requirement in social studies for grades one through eight — over conservative backlash to perceived Critical Race Theory teaching.

One of the reasons was a requirement for second graders to understand the meaning of the Juneteenth holiday. That and several other issues led the Texas Freedom Caucus to push back against the new TEKs. And here's where the trouble begins — is any discussion about race equivalent to critical race theory?

At its most basic, it appears that it might be, judging conservative activists' objections. For instance, one of the narratives shaping the anti-critical race theory thinkers is that it's not age-appropriate for children to learn about segregation or other forms of institutional racism.

Under Texas law, there are prohibitions on critical race theory discussion in public schools. However, teachers argue that the bans are vague. Regardless, Doyle's place in our community is clear, but discussing why is something that may be challenging.

Pickle Ball tournament set for First United Methodist Church

Grant Palmer is an unapologetic fan of pickleball — even if the red-hot game is slow to catch on in Texas.

Palmer is organizing a pickleball tournament Saturday at First United Methodist Church in Kerrville. Initially slated for a two-day tourney, Palmer said it would be a one-day affair with a round-robin format.

"I've got paddles and pickle balls," said an enthusiastic Palmer, who wants to encourage first-time players. "We will even give out water."

For the unacquainted, pickleball is the fastest-growing sport in the United States. In the last two years, pickleball participation grew 39% to more than 4.8 million players. The game is huge in Arizona, California, Nevada and Utah.

Pickleball Tournament — First United Methodist Church, 9 a.m. Saturday and 1 p.m. on Sunday. Information: 830-459-5848 The details: Pickleball doubles tournament. Proceeds will go to the KFUMC Forge Youth.

"It is almost a cliché at this point that the pandemic did not so much create trends as much as accelerated them," said Tom Cove, President/CEO of the Sports & Fitness Industry Association. "Pickleball has grown in popularity for the past five years and did not miss a beat during the pandemic. Pickleball's growth trajectory gives every indication it will be a significant part of the American sport landscape for the foreseeable future."

It's so popular that news outlets around the country are trying to understand it, including the New York Times.

"In one of the few studies that's been done on pickleball, researchers found that compared to walking at a self-selected pace for half an hour, people who played doubles pickleball for half an hour had 14% higher heart rates and burned 36% more calories," the New York Times said.

For Palmer, he discovered the joys of the game during a trip to College Station. He played with his brother-in-law.

"I said we've got to get this started at First United Methodist Church," said Palmer, adding he's been on a mission to expand the game's reach in Kerrville.

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