This page cannot be accessed with Reader Mode turned on.

The Lead Sunday Special: A retirement; a day off from school and the latest on COVID-19

It's a Kerr County special edition on Sunday, Jan. 16


What a gorgeous Sunday. As we sit here watching a football feast, there were plenty of things we had to share with all of you. So, here's a look at what we're paying attention to:

Ingram puts a pause on in-person education

It's unclear how many active COVID-19 cases the Ingram Independent School District is dealing with, but it's enough that officials decided to keep schools closed until Wednesday. On Jan. 9, Ingram said there were 61 students and staff out with COVID-19.

"Out of an abundance of caution, Ingram ISD will extend that closure through Wednesday, Jan. 19," the district said via Facebook. "This opportunity will allow us to deep clean our facilities and extend additional recovery time to our teachers and students."

The road is coming to an end — for now

Kerrville singer-songwriter Robert Earl Keen announced last week that he would retire from public appearances and tours. The Americana singer announced on his Facebook page that his public performances would end Sept. 4, 2022.

Keen, however, said he would continue to write and host his Americana podcast.

"I'm a strong believer in clarity and truth," Keen said. "As much as I love what I do, it's more important to live well or not at all. I'm not sick or experiencing any existential crisis. I feel making a decision to leave while I still love it is the way I want to leave it."

COVID-19 continues unabated in Texas

An additional 50,000 people tested positive for COVID-19 in Texas on Sunday. It was a day of daunting news when it came to managing the virus:

  • Pediatric hospitalizations reached 490 children — the most yet.
  • Statewide hospitalizations continued to grow, with more than 12,200 people admitted.
  • In the San Antonio Region, including Kerr County, hospitalizations reached 910, including 40 children.
  • Intensive care unit patients reached 2,427 people, including more than half on ventilators.
  • Since Jan. 1, more than 600,000 Texans have tested positive for the virus.
  • The positivity rate suggests a 34% positivity rate, but that may not be accurate based on recent Texas Department of State Health Services data that often changed.

3 things we learned about Pct. 2 candidate Sonya Hooten

We sat down on Jan. 14 to chat with Sonya Hooten, one of five Republicans running for the Precinct 2 seat on the Kerr County Commissioner's Court. Hooten's professional life has centered around work for the Center Point Independent School District and the Kerr County Sheriff's Office. Hooten spent 28 years with the school district before retiring. Former Sheriff Rusty Hierholzer recruited Hooten to be the office's executive assistant. She has carried on in that role under Sheriff Larry Leitha. If elected, Hooten would be the first woman to serve on the commissioner's court, but she's told The Lead that is not her emphasis. Instead, she said she's focused on the issues of growth and development in Precinct 2.

Here are three things we learned about Sonya Hooten:

1. One of the pivots the Kerr County Commissioner's Court had to make when the coronavirus pandemic started was offering meeting live video. Hooten said that provided her an opportunity to watch the proceedings in depth.

"After watching it and learning how the process worked, I thought, you know what? I can do that. And I was talking to Rusty (Hierholzer) one day and he says, Sonia, get off of that chair and ru And so, he says, he says, go out there and run. Well, I went home and talked to my husband about it. He's going to squash this right away. And he said, I think that's a great idea."

2. When it comes to the No. 1 issue facing the Precinct, Hooten makes the point about water and the Guadalupe River.

"Of course, the No. 1 is to make sure we have enough water for everyone. Let's keep that river as beautiful it is right now. I'd like to see, to be able to pass something to where the gravel pits have to reclamation the land. We have some that do it voluntarily and I think that's wonderful."

3. With the county poised to place a general obligation bond on the ballot in November — one that could cost $30 million — Hooten said the money could go a long way in improving county services:

"Well, the bond's important to me. Nobody wants the r taxes raised, but at least I'd like to have a say in that. We've grown out of that courthouse."

There's a lot more to our interview with Hooten, and we encourage you to watch the entire segment here:

Or listen to the podcast here:–Jan–14–2022-e1cve36

More stories you may have missed

From Instagram: Kerr County weekend


View more on Instagram.
Rocky road

More from The Lead

‍♀️ Do you have a question about The Lead or an idea for a story? Email us here at

Want to see some of our best photography? Check us out on Instagram:

Don't miss our podcasts by following us on:

Watch The Lead Live at 9 a.m. weekdays

Follow us on Twitter:

Follow us on Facebook:


This site uses cookies to provide you with a great user experience. By continuing to use this website, you consent to the use of cookies in accordance with our privacy policy.

Scroll to Top