HARLINGEN — The water cannon treatment always makes it official.
Valley International Airport hosted a ribbon-cutting for Frontier Airlines yesterday morning, greeting its Airbus A320 with twin geysers of water upon its arrival from Denver at 9:35 a.m.
“Congratulations to Marv Esterly and the staff who worked very hard to bring Frontier Airlines to our community,” Mayor Chris Boswell said of the airport’s director of aviation.
Noon Fix: Judge: Edcouch alderman lives within city limits; VIA officially welcomes Frontier flights; Border wall
Judge: Edcouch alderman lives within city limits
A visiting judge on Tuesday allowed recently elected Edcouch Alderman Joel Segura to continue serving despite city administration’s belief that he lives in neighboring Elsa.
Valley International Airport officially welcomes Frontier flights
Secretary of State: Palmview mayor not properly elected, creates vacancy
Palmview Mayor Ricardo “Rick” Villarreal, who was sworn into office last week, was not elected properly, according to a spokesman from the Texas Secretary of State’s office, creating a vacancy in the office of mayor.
Since Villarreal, an assistant superintendent at the La Joya school district, was the only mayoral candidate during the elections held earlier this month, his name appeared in a section of the ballot of unopposed candidates declared elected.
A leading light of conservation in South Texas has been extinguished with the passing of rancher and philanthropist Frank Yturria, who died at a Houston hospital Monday at the age of 95.
His recognition by the Botanical Research Institute of Texas — which awarded Yturria and family the 2017 International Award of Excellence in Conservation for putting thousands of acres into easements to protect endangered ocelots and other wildlife — reflects only part of that legacy.
Starr County working to complete audit as deadline looms
The problems that placed the Starr County’s auditor’s office in a rush to complete their financial audit last year are spilling over into the county’s ability to complete it on time this year, once again risking its ability to apply for grants.
Starr County Auditor Boyd Carter was brought on board in May 2017 to replace previous auditor Rosalinda Guerra. He was immediately tasked with completing the county’s audit, which he said had not even been started at the time.
Carmen A. Peña, the former Starr County tax assessor-collector who was at the center of an office-wide theft scheme, died Monday at the Carole S. Young Medical Facility, a unit of the Texas Department of Criminal Justice.
The Tamaulipas Attorney General’s office is offering a 2 million peso reward, or approximately $97,000, for anyone who provides information on the killing of two members of the Los Norteños de Rio Bravo band.
The men, who were reported missing Saturday night, were kidnapped from their vehicle following a concert in Rio Bravo, Tamaulipas. Their bodies were discovered Sunday morning, according to a news release from the AG’s office.
Mission man gets 40 years in ex-girlfriend’s murder after 10 years on the run
EDINBURG — After 10 years of waiting, Nora Maldonado finally saw the man charged with killing her only daughter sentenced to 40 years in prison.
Oscar Davila Rodriguez, 35, faced Judge J.R. “Bobby” Flores Monday and was punished for the Oct. 31, 2005, murder of 19-year-old Nydia Maldonado.
Frank Yturria, a renowned conservationist and South Texas rancher whose biography includes sharing a rodeo circuit with Gene Autry and Roy Rogers in the 1940s and single-handedly aiding the ocelot population’s preservation, died at the age of 95 on Monday, state Sen. Eddie Lucio Jr. confirmed.
Edcouch residency case could be resolved this week
A back-and-forth residency issue between Edcouch administration and a recently elected alderman could be resolved this week.
Alderman Joel Segura, who voters elected this month, filed a lawsuit against the city of Edcouch on Nov. 13 in response to a city administration-issued letter declaring him ineligible to take office for living in neighboring Elsa. Segura, however, asserts he lives in Edcouch and has voted in its municipal elections.
A year after McAllen sales tax turned, revenues continue to trend positive
The prediction came in 2016: Get through Thanksgiving the following year. McAllen had seen months of declining sales tax revenues, something the city relies on heavily.
La Plaza Mall, the city’s sales tax jewel, was undergoing a $50 million expansion, set to finish, in part, by the holiday season in 2017. Mayor Jim Darling and city commissioners felt pressure to keep a tight budget, yet they knew that they needed to invest.
Fledgling tech company pitches telemonitoring to local health institutions
McALLEN — Still in its trial phase, Accuhealth Tech plans to change medical care a patient at a time.
Accuhealth Tech is a home health agency that began inside a 500-square-foot room on the first floor of Chase Bank Tower, under the direction of Chief Executive Officer Stephen Samson and Chief Operating Officer Boby Deveros.
The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley has a new student ambassador to represent the institution at the state level.
UTRGV junior Alyssa Guajardo, of Mission, was selected as Texas Civic Ambassador for the 2018-19 school year, which aims to expand civic engagement and understanding of democracy.
WESLACO — Nearly two years after they were at danger of closing their doors, Holy Family Birth Center unveiled renovations to their facility in Weslaco.
For the second consecutive year, U.S. Rep. Vicente González, D-McAllen, spent Thanksgiving overseas with the troops.
Gonzalez met with the men and women of the U.S. Armed Forces stationed at bases in Kuwait in the Middle East and another in Djibouti in Africa, according to a news release.
“I can think of no better way to spend my Thanksgiving than with our troops,” Gonzalez said. “As I visited these military stations I was amazed to see everyone in high spirits despite being so far from home.”
Hidalgo County awarded $100,000 to four business located in small rural towns in order to help spur economic development in those communities.
The Small Town Economic Development program, known by the acronym STED, is in its first year of development. It was created by the county’s Economic Development Division in the County Judge’s Office, and officials there partnered with the University of Texas-Rio Grande Valley Small Business Development Center to maximize efforts.
PHARR — A few months after its inauguration, the South Texas College Regional Center for Public Safety in Excellence is receiving an initial grant of $307,219 to begin the construction of a $4 million, 12-lane target range.
The Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, or TPWD, is scheduled to formally announce the grant at a news conference in Austin on Nov. 29, according to a college news release.
For the third consecutive year, Pharr Community Theater will present “A Tejano Christmas Carol.”
This Charles Dickens adaptation is set in the Rio Grande Valley, where the mean-spirited shyster Mr. Ezequiel Codos serves as a powerful attorney and greedy water broker. He owns vast property on both sides of the Rio Grande, including tons of water rights, and when he decides to sell all those rights the river dries up with grave consequences in the future.
Black Friday brings long lines to north McAllen Best Buy
McALLEN — Eduardo Paez spent his one week off from working in the West Texas oil fields camping outside of the north McAllen Best Buy with his mother-in-law.
They assembled a tent on Tuesday, but the 75-inch LG television and Playstation 4 they were interested in would not be available until Thursday.
Isabel Valdez wanted the TV, so she traveled from the northern Mexican town of Monterrey to the Rio Grande Valley. Paez was interested in a new gaming system.
CBP offers tips to reduce border crossing wait times
With longer expected waiting periods at international bridges during the holiday season, U.S. Customs and Border Protection has several tips for travelers to speed up the process just in time for Thanksgiving and Black Friday.
Throughout its social media pages and website, CBP is reminding travelers that crossing times will likely be longer than normal because of the added traffic and the ongoing deployment of officers in regards to the migrant caravan response.
The Culinary Arts Department at South Texas College held its first Thanksgiving buffet to raise funds for the college’s student food pantry.
McALLEN — The McAllen Crime Stoppers gave out 150 turkeys to area families Wednesday, the 16th year the nonprofit group has done so in conjunction with the McAllen Police Department as part of its Turkey Dinner Giveaway.
In addition to a free turkey, families received stuffing, gravy, vegetables and bread to complete their Thanksgiving meal.
Fight over voter fraud allegations in Edinburg continues
The latest installment of the saga that is the Edinburg voter fraud investigation involves a fight over public information.
Noon Fix: Fight over fraud allegations in Edinburg continues; Pharr moves public comment, mayor responds to criticism; Grey, wet forecast through Thanksgiving Day
Fight over fraud allegations in Edinburg continues
PHARR — In response to criticism over the city moving public comment from the beginning of city commission meetings to the end, Mayor Dr. Ambrosio Hernandez issued a stern speech at the end of Monday night’s commissioners meeting after multiple public commenters assailed the change as lacking transparency and accountability.
Nobody would order drab and drizzling for a holiday, but that’s what we’ll see this Thanksgiving in the Rio Grande Valley.
Chances of rain Wednesday are 50 percent with highs reaching the low 60s.
Thanksgiving Day will see a 30 percent chance of rain with highs between 58 and 65.
“Pretty much kind of what we see right now is what we’re expecting,” Rick Hallman, meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Brownsville, said yesterday. “The cool, wet and cloudy conditions are continuing.”
Donna man arrested for intoxication manslaughter after fatal McAllen accident
McALLEN — A twenty-one year old driver is behind bars after striking a utility pole in the early morning hours Saturday, killing his two passengers.
Scottie Lee Ochoa was arrested Nov. 17 on two counts of intoxication manslaughter for the deaths of Christian Jordan Guzman, 29, of Alamo and Taylor Nicole Crouse, 21, of Donna.
The Donna man is currently being held in the Hidalgo County jail on a $600,000 cash surety bond, according to the McAllen Police Department.
Through the power of a temporary restraining order signed by a judge last week, a new majority took control of the Edcouch Board of Aldermen — for now.
Attorney Michael Pruneda applied for the temporary restraining order last Tuesday after city administration attempted to bar recently-elected Place 2 Alderman Joel Segura, his client, from the board. In a letter dated Oct. 1, the city’s elections administrator claimed Segura lives outside city limits, making him ineligible to hold the office.
EDINBURG — A former Hidalgo County adult probation officer charged with taking bribes from probationers must now report to a probation officer as part of the conditions of his sentence.
This Thanksgiving will be extra special for 11 new families who welcomed 17 children into their forever homes days before the holiday on Monday during Cameron County Adoption Day in Brownsville.
November is National Adoption Awareness Month.
For Brownsville residents Francisco Reyes and Nelda Delgado, the adoption of 2-year-old Abdias Emmanuel left both parents without words on Monday as the long process and hard times seemed to finally be over.
BROWNSVILLE — It may have once been a battlefield, but today the 3,400 acres of coastal prairie that make up the Palo Alto Battlefield National Historical Park are an oasis for native plants and wildlife.
This open prairie is transformed along the edges of the park into dense thickets of mesquite, acacia and thorny undergrowth. Although there is no permanent water on the site, the park is laced with a series of shallow resacas, which hold water sporadically.
McALLEN — Port officers found more than just brake equipment when they conducted a careful search of a pickup truck trying to enter the U.S.
Jose Manuel Rios-Rodriguez and his younger brother, Juan Guadalupe Rios-Rodriguez, from Mexico were sentenced earlier this week to five years each for their role in an attempt to smuggle meth into the country.
WESLACO — Hidalgo County is now home to seven Veterans of Foreign Wars posts, the newest being here in Weslaco.
The nonprofit veterans service organization, also known as VFW, has more than 6,000 posts worldwide. Of those, 13 are in district 18, which encompasses the Rio Grande Valley, Jim Hogg and Webb counties.
There’s no reset button for centuries of deep kinship and endless economic ties, but over the last two years, Mexico’s relationship with the United States has soured.
President Donald Trump has criticized Mexico on trade and security, and Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto has hardly hit back.
“They’re not our friend, believe me,” Trump said of Mexico while campaigning for the presidency in 2016.
McALLEN — A cool autumn breeze greeted thousands of visitors to the Tamale Fest in McAllen’s Archer Park on Saturday. It’s the sixth year the family friendly event has been held in the City of Palms.
The festival has grown to become a major fundraiser for the McAllen Boys & Girls Club, and helps fund after-school activities and nutrition programs.
Children and their parents were seen throughout the park taking part in various contests, arts and crafts and enjoying tamales.
McALLEN — A Mission woman said she was driven to smuggling drugs after not being able to afford daycare for her children, court records show.
Earlier this week U.S. District Judge Randy Crane sentenced Stephanie Montero to nearly five years in prison after she was stopped attempting to smuggle more than 17 kilos of cocaine into the United States.
Officials ceremoniously mark shovel-ready work on new Hidalgo County Courthouse
Elected officials and stakeholders gathered Friday morning at the site of Hidalgo County’s future courthouse to ceremoniously break ground on the new $150 million structure.
The courthouse is scheduled for completion by 2021 and will sit where a parking lot in the downtown square was once located.
U.S., Mexican law enforcement find Hidalgo County fugitive living in Mexico after 10 years on the run
A fugitive convicted of first degree murder in 2008 was returned to the United States Wednesday after spending 10 years in Mexico, according to a news release from the Hidalgo County District Attorney’s office.
Jury finds former Palmview police dispatcher guilty of manslaughter, sentences him to 15 years
EDINBURG — A jury convicted Jacobo Rivera of manslaughter Friday after 10 hours of deliberation, acquitting him of the more serious murder charge.
The decision not to find Rivera, a former Palmview police dispatcher, guilty of the most serious charge was a disappointment to the prosecution and the family of Kryztal Luna, who died Aug. 17, 2016, after the vehicle the defendant was driving crashed into an expressway support pillar in Palmview.
Multiple subjects detained after law enforcement raid in Alamo and Donna
Multiple people were detained Friday afternoon after a law enforcement raid took place in three locations in Alamo and Donna related to an aggravated robbery investigation, according to the Hidalgo County Sheriff's office.
The multi-agency raid took place in Hutch Road and Carnation Street in Donna and Pantera Street in Alamo, according to a spokesperson for the Hidalgo County Sheriff's office. The robbery in question took place on Thursday at approximately 2:41 a.m. in rural Alamo.
Topgolf, the most high-profile sports entertainment venue in the Rio Grande Valley, opened on Friday in Pharr off Expressway 83 and Jackson Road.
The city paid roughly $5 million of taxpayer dollars to lure the company to Pharr over surrounding competitors — McAllen, Mission and Edinburg, to name a few. Pharr Mayor Ambrosio Hernandez defended the city’s decision to dish out incentives earlier this year in a guest commentary published in The Monitor.
Concert benefiting retired Edinburg police officer with ALS slated Friday
A benefit concert for a retired Edinburg police officer diagnosed with Lou Gehrig’s disease is scheduled for Friday at Yerberia Cultura in McAllen.
The concert, dubbed “Kiss My ALS-2,” is the second benefit concert for Andres Luna, who is also a former Rio Grande Valley musician. The flyer boasts an image of Darth Vadar, given that Luna is a big fan of the Star Wars franchise.
HIDALGO — Santa Claus, the Cat in the Hat and Coca Cola’s iconic polar bear joined city leaders in announcing the theme of this year’s 28th annual Festival of Lights Thursday afternoon.
The whimsical world of Dr. Seuss, which includes classics such as The Grinch, The Cat in the Hat and Thing One and Thing Two, will be featured at this year’s event.
By all conventional measures, Lamar Jones is already a successful innovator. The former Weslaco teacher’s aide founded his own barbecue sauce company known as “The Jank” in 2012. Jones made headlines in July 2015 when he became a finalist in a new products competition sponsored by H-E-B Grocery Co. Less than a year later, Jones landed a deal to bottle his sauce and supply it to 169 HEB stores across the state. The Jank hit the market in February 2016. In Nov. 2017, Lamar was named HEB’s Supplier Diversity Supplier of the Year award.
EDINBURG — The former police chief here was demoted sometime last week amid a spate of other changes within the city.
Former Edinburg Chief David White is now serving as a lieutenant for the police force, spokeswoman Cary Zayas said Wednesday.
It’s unclear what led to White’s demotion. New City Manager Juan Guerra declined to disclose any other information via Zayas.
Weslaco police investigating Weslaco murder-suicide
An 18-year-old man is dead and his 17-year-old female victim in stable condition after an attempted murder-suicide in a Weslaco home Wednesday, according to a Thursday police news release.
Second border wall contract for $167M of construction through Mid-Valley cities
Federal officials have approved another border wall contract, this one for the $167 million construction of 8 miles of levee wall system in the Rio Grande Valley.
Awarded Nov. 11 to Galveston-based SLSCO, the project dubbed RGV-02 consists of construction in the Hidalgo County cities of Alamo, Donna, Weslaco, Progreso and Mercedes, according to a U.S. Customs and Border Protection news release.
Pair of brothers charged with capital murder following Weslaco fatal shooting
Two brothers were arraigned on capital murder charges Tuesday following what sheriff’s investigators believe was a drug deal gone wrong that resulted in the death of one man and serious injuries to another.
Isaac Garza Becerra, 20, and Jose Angel Becerra, 17, of Elsa appeared before Precinct 5, Pl. 1 Justice of the Peace Jason Peña who denied bond for both.
HUNTSVILLE — During his trial, prosecutors determined Robert Moreno Ramos had killed his family so he could marry a woman he was having an affair with, a woman he married three days after brutally beating his family to death.
But on Wednesday night, Ramos — lying on a metallic gurney inside the death chamber of the Huntsville Prison Unit — was all alone, save for a handful of media witnesses and jail personnel.
EDINBURG — In the early morning hours of Aug. 17, 2016, trooper Howard Brothers was parked on the shoulder of West Expressway 83 on the lookout for speeders and drivers under the influence.
He heard the rev of a Ford Mustang’s engine before he saw the vehicle’s lights in his rearview mirror, and within seconds, the vehicle had passed him, his radar gun clocking its speed at 120 mph in a 65 mph zone.