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General Interest General Interest

CBP, DoD join forces for training operation on border

LAREDO — Congressman Henry Cuellar (D-Laredo) announced his support July 5 for a U.S. Customs and Border Protection and Department of Defense joint training operation. South Texas residents can expect to see an increased law enforcement and military presence in the region as CBP and DoD join forces for this limited duration coordinated training operation. The joint-training venture will provide real-world training opportunities for DoD military personnel while also serving to enhance the Border Patrol’s ability to counter threats along the border.


STC gets grant for high-tech summer camps

AUSTIN — The Texas Workforce Commission awarded 14 grants totaling nearly $1 million to Texas universities and community colleges for summer youth camps that focus on science, technology, engineering and math (STEM). The grants will allow 1,200 students between the ages of 14 and 21 to attend camps, which help prepare them for future high-skill, high-demand jobs.


$1.2M in cocaine seized at Pharr Port of Entry

HIDALGO — U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers at the Pharr Port of Entry on July 7 seized cocaine valued at approximately $1,164,800 during a routine inspection of a passenger vehicle.

A CBP officer at the bridge detained a 20-year-old female Mexican citizen from Reynosa, who was driving a 2001 Ford Focus. After noting discrepancies in the vehicle, CBP officials conducted in intensive examination and discovered 15 packages containing nearly 35 pounds of cocaine.


TCEQ announces grants for natural gas vehicles

AUSTIN — The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality announced July 10 that it has $18 million in grants available to eligible businesses, governmental entities, school districts and individuals to replace older medium-duty or heavy-duty gasoline or diesel vehicles with natural gas vehicles, or repower the vehicles with natural gas engines.

Applicants must apply for the Texas Natural Gas Vehicle Grant Program grants through a participating dealer. A list of participating dealers is available on the Texas Emission Reductions Plan website.


IBWC: Biological control for invasive plant outreach program

usibwc logoA proposed biological control program for invasive plants, efforts to enhance flood protection along the Arroyo Colorado in Harlingen, and a report on environmental flows will be discussed at a public meeting of the Lower Rio Grande Citizens Forum (LRGCF), and outreach program of the U.S. Section of the International Boundary and Water Commission (IBWC). The LRGCF was established to facilitate the exchange of information between the IBWC and members of the public about commission activities and related issues in the Lower Rio Grande Valley. The meeting will be held Wednesday, July 18 from 3 to 5 p.m. at the IBWC office at 325 Golf Course Road in Mercedes.


BIG BOY TOYS: Bells provide airfield for R/C aircraft in Peñitas

20120617 RC Planes lg-12-featureRio Grande R/C Flyers member Kurt Yundt watches as his radio controlled Sbach 342 airplane flies past him at Bell Field in Penitas. Progress Times photo by Luciano GuerraPEÑITAS — “If you build it they will come.” That is a popular line from the 1989 Kevin Costner movie, “Field of Dreams.” In the movie, Costner’s character built a baseball field in the middle of a cornfield to give deceased baseball legends a place to play.

The Bell family did something similar when they built an airfield of dreams in the middle of a sorghum field in Peñitas. The Bells built the airfield so Rio Grande R/C Flyers (RGRCF) club members would have a place to fly their radio-controlled (R/C) airplanes and helicopters, explains RGRCF club President Bob Barry.


Social Security online statements a success

Michael J. Astrue, Commissioner of Social Security, announced that in less than two months’ time, one million people have gone online, created a My Social Security account and viewed their Social Security Statement.


Social Security, healthcare provider share medical records

WASHINTON D.C. — The Social Security Administration announced June 25 that Kaiser Permanente, one of the nation’s largest healthcare providers, will electronically transmit complete medical records for its patients to the agency with the appropriate consent. Social Security requests about 70,000 patient files from Kaiser Permanente each year.


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