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The Lead Sept. 8, 2022: Whataburger holds a grand opening for Memorial Boulevard location

It's the 3rd in Kerr County, but the chain's corporate parent is opening a fourth store along Interstate 10.

Good morning, Kerr County!

Once again, we're going to see some warm days — highs in the low 90s — but the outlook looks decidedly sunny. The warm and sunny trend could last until the middle of next week. It's such a mild forecast that even the National Weather Service didn't have much to say about it.

On today's edition of The Lead Live!

Kerr Economic Development Director Gil Salinas joins us to discuss the future of economic development in the region and how he's dealing with the challenge of helping companies find employees and housing. Salinas has long held that Kerrville's "quality of place" is a significant attractor to site selectors for companies looking to relocate here. Still, the high cost of living may offset that. Texas Hill Country Advisors Andrew Gay joins at the front of the show to provide an economic update. The Kerrville Convention and Visitors Bureau's Leslie Jones gives us a preview of weekend events.


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:

Speaking of events

Thursday, Sept. 8

Live Music

  • Greg Wall — Southern Sky Music Cafe, 7 p.m. Information: (830) 367-2735 The details: Saxophonist Greg Wall has performed and recorded with Hasidic New Wave, Greg Wall Trio, The Wall/London Band, Neshama Carlebach, the Hi-Tops, Greg Wall's Unity Orchestra, and has made many session appearances for record dates and film scores.
  • Kevin McCormick — Joanne Marie and Me Wine Boutique, Ingram, 6 p.m. Information:
  • Open Mic Night — Gravity Check Saloon and Arena, 6 p.m. Information: Gravity Check Saloon and Arena The details: Try your latest song and listen to Jesse Owen.


  • Citizenship Prep Class — Doyle School Community Center, 6-8 p.m. Information: The details: To learn about the important reasons for becoming a U.S. citizen and path to citizenship from a U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services Attorney.

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.

Stories we're following

Judge rules against HIV medications

  • A Texas-based federal judge ruled that companies do not have to subsidize HIV prevention drugs because it could violate the religious rights of those business owners or companies. Judge Reed O'Connor's ruling could mean changes to reproductive care and contraception. Here's the story from the Texas Tribune:

DPS role in Uvalde is scrutinized

  • The Texas Tribune and ProPublica dug into the Uvalde response from the Department of Public Safety, finding more than 90 troopers were on scene. The news organizations said, "the Texas Department of Public Safety, has largely avoided scrutiny even though it had scores of officers on the scene. That's in part because DPS leaders are controlling which records get released to the public and carefully shaping a narrative that casts local law enforcement as incompetent." Here's a link to the story:

The New York Times floats down the Guadalupe

  • The New York Times took a float down one of Texas' rivers, and found that The Guadalupe River was the best (no surprise). From the article: "For our adventure, we picked the Guadalupe, a versatile river that appeals to young and old, has a few rapid spots and lends itself to a fantastic, authentic Texas evening post-float." Read more here:

The state's tallest building under construction in Austin

❤️Show us the Kerr County you love

The Kerr County Lead is embarking on a project to help inform our reporting on the community and give a broader perspective to those who call this remarkable place home.

  • What moves you about Kerrville, Center Point, Ingram, Hunt and the rest of Kerr County?
  • Where do you like to have lunch?
  • Where is your Kerr County place of zen or peace?
  • Where's a place that you're proud of here in Kerr County?

All that we ask is for you to be our tour guide and let us share your story about what you think is unique about Kerr County.

Want to take us on a tour? Email us at

Whataburger celebrates its third Kerr County location

The partners behind Kerr County's Whataburger franchise knew they had an opportunity to expand their business to Kerrville's eastside, but it was also a matter of timing.

The coronavirus pandemic temporarily threw caution into the project. Then came a worker shortage, but the opportunity to build along Memorial Boulevard — just down the street from Schreiner University and around the corner from the Kerr County Sheriff's office and jail — was too good to pass up.

"We worked so hard on it," said Joe Ellis, who partners with Jim Watt and brothers Gary and Tony Roberts to former Burgers of Beaumont — the Beaumont-based franchise owner of more than a dozen Whataburgers.

The partnership owns restaurants in Ingram, its flagship store on Main Street in Kerrville, which is busy nearly 24 hours daily. On Wednesday, Whataburger formally opened its newest store on Memorial, which technically opened in May.

"I don't think people really envisioned what they see today," Ellis said. "The buildings that were here and the process, but we did it."

Tivy High School Air Force Jr. ROTC place their orders after help with the opening ceremonies for the new restaurant.

What they did was open the chain up to a significant number of customers, who now have a shorter driving time to get their burger or chicken fix. However, they do face competition — from Whataburger itself.

The corporate arm of the burger behemoth is near completion of its restaurant along Sidney Baker Street and at Interstate 10. When opened, Kerr County will have four restaurants, but the franchisees don't seem worried.

After all, they've got some supporters in their corner.

Kerr County Sheriff Larry Leitha was all smiles after the Kerr County Sheriff's Foundation received $1,000 from Whataburger.

"They don't know this yet, but this is going to be a sub-station of the Sheriff's office," joked Kerr County Sheriff Larry Leitha, who was on hand for the ribbon-cutting ceremony.

The Kerr County Sheriff's Foundation received a $1,000 donation from the restaurant toward a new BearKat armored vehicle.

Attending the ribbon-cutting was a mix of the usual suspects — Chamber of Commerce folks — but Schreiner University President Charlie McCormick and others from the university. Ellis noted that there's plenty of Schreiner memorabilia in the restaurant.

And no opening ceremony would be complete without the Tivy Air Force Junior ROTC cadets raising the colors. They also raised a few milkshakes once the ceremony was over.

Tivy High School senior Victoria Martinez took command of the situation by distributing milk shakes.

In the food line was Tivy High senior Cadet Corps Commander Victoria Martinez, who ordered a spicy chicken sandwich and a banana pudding milkshake, but just behind her was Hanna Miller, who drew ahs of agreement from her fellow cadets when she said she was getting gravy dipping sauce with her chicken strips.

"This is right around the corner from my house," Miller said of the new restaurant.

As the pandemic's grip lessened, the business to Whataburger's Main Street store was crushing — there were long drive-thru lines that backed up onto the street. Like many fast-food places, Whataburger has upped its pay and offers benefits after a year of work.

Do you need to go on a walk?

We all need to go on a walk, and the Kerrville Walking Group has a plan for all interested in making a trek with them at 8 a.m. on Saturday. The group is meeting at the Dieter Center. The group says they welcome pets and good conversation. Here's the link to the course: click here.

Time to get your library card — don't let it go

The Butt-Holdsworth Memorial Library is joining the American Library Association (ALA) and libraries nationwide for Library Card Sign-Up Month, a time to remind parents, caregivers and students that a library card is the first step toward academic achievement and lifelong learning.

A library card opens a world of infinite possibilities through resources and services that give students the tools to succeed in school and beyond.

This year, Tony Award-winning performer, actress, singer-songwriter, and philanthropist Idina Menzel and her sister, author and educator Cara Menzel, have been named honorary chairs of Library Card Sign-Up Month. This September, Idina and Cara will join the American Library Association and libraries nationwide to sing the praises of a library card. The sisters' debut picture book, "Loud Mouse," about a little mouse named Dee who loves to sing very loudly, will be released by Disney Hyperion publishing house.

As honorary chairs, the Menzel's will remind everyone that the library is one of the best places to find your voice. And during Library Card Sign-Up Month, they want you to explore all the library has to offer, like-new children's books, access to technology, and educational programming.

For more information about how to sign up for a library card, contact the library reference desk at (830) 258-1274, or visit the city's website at

They need sponsors for the kids at Halloween

The Kerrville Parks and Recreation Department needs booth participants and sponsors for the annual "Family Fright Night" Halloween event — arguably Kerr County's biggest Halloween event.

Set for 5:30 p.m. on Oct. 31 in Louise Hays Park, 202 Thompson Dr., it is a free event and will include games, trick-or-treating, food trucks, a costume contest, bounce houses, and more.

Organizations or businesses can support this community event by registering to host a booth. Park and rec encourages participants to decorate their car trunks or a 10-food-by-10-foot canopy tent to create a booth with a family-friendly Halloween theme of your choosing and distribute candy/prizes to trick-or-treaters. Include an activity for a little added fun. Booth entries must be submitted by Oct. 21 to be guaranteed a spot at the event.

Businesses and organizations can sponsor in-kind products for prizes or provide a monetary sponsorship. Cash sponsorships go directly towards providing candy, decorations and activities for this event. For full sponsorship benefits, parks and rec needs a donation commitment by Oct. 7.

The sponsorship packet and booth registration form can be found on the city's website at, or visit the Parks Office located at 2385 Bandera Hwy.


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