GOOD MORNING AND LET'S REMEMBER OUR VETERANS
It's Veterans Day across America today, and there are several events scheduled across the Hill Country today. Here's a look at some of them:
9 a.m., Kerr County Courthouse: There will be playing of taps, opening and closing prayers led by local pastors, a speech by a retired U.S. Navy master chief and the laying of wreaths by all service organizations that would like to do so. There also will be a singer to perform "God Bless America" and the national anthem with a keyboard accompanist.
11:30 a.m., Doyle School Community Center: This celebration will feature speaker Lt. Col. Mary Woolridge, and there are refreshments.
6 p.m., The Hill Country Gala, Hill Country Youth Event Center: This event helps support the Wounded Warriors Project. There will also be contributions made to the Together with Hill Country Veterans, The Hill Country Veterans Center, Veterans Assistance Dogs of Texas, and HONOR Veterans Now - Meals for Vets. This is a ticketed event and check to see if tickets are still available. https://www.hillcountrygala.com/
Delayne Sigerman plays host today and will interview Jeff Harris, a veteran and vice president at SouthStar bank In Kerrville. Speaking of Delayne Sigerman, on Nov. 18, The Lead Live will be precisely that from Sigerman's home for a special cooking show. Sigerman has been cooking her way through the television personality Ina Garten's cookbook and sharing her creations on Instagram. That will be one delicious show.
The Kerrville Convention and Visitors Bureau held a unique ribbon cutting on Wednesday when it unveiled the latest mural by Kerrville-native Aurora Joleen. The bright mural adorns the side of the CVB's Sidney Baker Street building, and the inspiration was easy for Joleen.
"The inspiration was Kerrville," said Joleen, who has painted other murals in Kerrville.
The work is a collaborative effort between Joleen and CVB's President and CEO Julie Davis, but it has deep roots. See, Jolene and Davis graduated from high school together — at Tivy. They reconnected when Jolene moved back to Kerrville after living for years abroad, including in Argentina. When Jolene came back to the Hill Country, the region's colorful palette became her inspiration.
"It's bright, colorful and happy," Joleen said. "It's something that people can drive by and see. It was fun."
While Joleen calls herself a farmer now, living just outside of Kerrville, her artistic range features jewelry, metalwork, paintings, decals and other pieces. She also painted a mural on the back of Central Texas Gun & Pawn, 1217 Broadway in Kerrville
The CVB mural is just one of several taking shape in Kerrville, and more are on the way. A new mural commands the back of Arcadia Live — perhaps, one of the most prominent in the city.
"Kerrville is making it happen," Joleen said. "We are very fortunate to live in a place that's open-minded enough to put art everywhere."
Gov. Abbott is on a hunt for porn in schools
In a letter to the Texas Education Agency Commissioner Mike Morath, Gov. Greg Abbott asked the agency to investigate allegations that schoolchildren are exposed to pornographic material.
Exactly what type, when, where and how is not covered in Abbott's letter to Morath.
"I am writing to you about recent revelations that Texas students have been exposed to pornographic books and content in Texas public schools," Abbott wrote. "In a previous letter, I directed the Texas Education Agency, along with the State Board of Education and the Texas State Library and Archives Commission, to begin developing statewide standards to prevent the presence of pornography and other obscene content in Texas public schools."
Exactly what Abbott is talking about is uncertain. Of course, late last month Texas Rep. Matt Krause put together a list of 850 books that may be problematic — many of them about sexual health, LGBTQ issues and human sexuality. Some are even textbooks or Pulitzer Prize winners.
Whether Abbott's opposition is connected to a specific book, magazine, periodical, newspaper, or Playboy, he wants TEA to look into it. With a proliferation of digital media delivered on mobile phones, it's almost impossible keeping school-age children and teenagers from accessing porn on their own devices. The prevalence in print remains to be seen, but Abbott is determined.
"That is why I am directing the Texas Education Agency to investigate any criminal activity in our public schools involving the availability of pornography," Abbott wrote. "During this investigation, I ask the agency to refer any instance of pornography being provided to minors under the age of 18 for prosecution to the fullest extent of the law."
One up, one down for Abbott
While Texas Gov. Abbott was fighting to root out porn in schools, his efforts to ban mask mandates hit a snag when U.S. District Judge Lee Yeakel said the state violated the Americans with Disabilities Act by banning the mandates.
"The spread of COVID-19 poses an even greater risk for children with special health needs," Yeakel said. "Children with certain underlying conditions who contract COVID-19 are more likely to experience severe acute biological effects and to require admission to a hospital and the hospital's intensive-care unit."
The Texas Tribune reported that Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton plans to challenge the decision.
Texas Hill Country Advisors Andrew Gay and Gilberto Paiz hosted their first podcast, which was carried live on The Lead, to provide greater financial literacy for those in Kerr County and beyond.
The two longtime Kerrville-based financial advisors sat down for 30 minutes to discuss the state of the economy and what investors need to be aware of currently. Here are three takeaways from their discussion:
WE ARE ALL IN THIS TOGETHER
Gay and Paiz discussed the currently unique juxtaposition of inflation and interest rates and its impact on our daily lives. During the podcast, Paiz pointed out those previous periods of high inflation connected to high-interest rates, but this is different.
"A little bit of inflation is good," Paiz said. "The opposite of this is deflation, and that creates its own problems. A little bit of inflation is good, you just don't want to have it uncontrolled. The net effect of high inflation is high interest rates, and that too is an interesting side note to the discussion about inflation."
The reality is that interest rates are at record lows.
"Interest rates are the tool the government uses to control inflation," Paiz said. The but here is that labor and supply chain and their inherent shortages seem to be driving rising costs.
"People have to understand that inflation will affect all of us. Not just individuals, but it affects companies and businesses; when they buy products to sell to you, it's costing them more money," Paiz said. "Every ingredient that's out there has to be trucked or shipped to a business. Every business is going to have higher costs. And guess what? They are going to pass those along to the consumer."
Paiz and Gay said that in times of inflation, primarily driven by rising interest rates, a focus on investments in financial products (savings), the energy sector, and real estate is safe.
OK, SO WHAT'S REALLY DRIVING IT?
The short answer is that no one really knows for sure. The simple explanation isn't very simple — at all. Paiz attributes it partly to rising wages — arguing that income levels have been relatively flat until 2020.
Statista, a data website, calculates that median household income rose to an estimated $68,000 — less than 1% growth over 2019. However, income levels between 2018 and 2020 grew by 13.8%. Add in supply chain woes across the world and a rash of Baby Boomers leaving the workforce, and you've got a shortage of products and workers.
"There's a lot of information that will tell you the reason for inflation are these supply-chain bottlenecks," Paiz said. "There's other people telling you that inflation is going crazy because of all the stimulus that's out there. I think the real answer is that it's all of those things put together."
THE FED IS PAYING ATTENTION
Paiz and Gay said they believe that the Federal Reserve, which oversees interest rates, will work to keep inflation under control — not a repeat of years past where out-of-control inflation and sky-high interest rates proved problematic in the 1970s and 1980s.
"You don't want inflation to get out of control because it creates a whole lot of problems," Paiz said.