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General Interest

County requests RFQ for architects for new courthouse

Hidalgo-County-SealThe Hidalgo County Commissioners Court authorized administrators to advertise for architects with extensive experience in the design, construction, and related services of judicial and courthouse facilities.

There was no discussion on the proposed new courthouse, only an approval of the request for qualifications.

Alex Palacios, of Prodigy Engineering, told the court the construction manager for the new Hidalgo County Administration Building is asking for two additional weeks to complete the project. Palacios did not give a date for final completion.

Read more: County requests RFQ for architects for new courthouse

   

Citrus leaders plan disease response

20140822 AREA Citrus-greening 0077WESLACO–Citrus growers must be proactive to save the $150 million Rio Grande Valley industry as a deadly disease continues to spread in the region, representatives of Texas Citrus Mutual emphasized at a news conference Wednesday.

Florida recently reported 80 percent of its trees are infected with citrus greening, threatening the $9 billion industry in the state.

Meanwhile, Ray Prewett, president of Texas Citrus Mutual said in the last few days, 130 newly infected trees have been identified, most in one or two groves. That brings the total confirmed infected trees to nearly 640.

Read more: Citrus leaders plan disease response

   

MRMC unveils ‘journey wall’

20140815 MRMC 60th-Anniversary 2896Pillars of Mission Regional Medical Center as well as the hospital’s history are commemorated on a “journey wall” unveiled Friday in honor of the nonprofit’s 60th anniversary.

Javier Iruegas, CEO of the hospital, said he expects the hospital to add to the wall in the coming years.

“These individuals were key to what we call courage … to help us reach that milestone in our most recent history, and for that courage and for saddling up in spite of what was happening at the time to go out and go to Washington and try to help secure funding for us,” Iruegas said.

Read more: MRMC unveils ‘journey wall’

   

County studies $18 million deficit budget

Hidalgo-County-SealHidalgo County Commissioners Court held a special workshop Tuesday to continue studying a projected $18 million budget deficit.

Last week the budget deficit was listed as $12 million; however, changes in figures showed the deficit at $18 million in the second workshop.

Still county leaders think they can cut that shortfall down to $5 million, and Budget Manager Sergio Cruz presented several ways of reducing the proposed budget, which included cutting countywide operating expenditures $5,991,560, and a reduction in work force of four percent, saving $3,155,449.

Read more: County studies $18 million deficit budget

   

Police chief reassures Winter Texans: RGV is safe

20140815 Winter-TexansMany Winter Texans have been calling their RV parks and the local chamber of commerce offices asking if it is safe to come back to the Rio Grande Valley this fall because of the influx of immigrant youth and children. National media has given many the impression that the border is running wild with immigrant children all over the place.

Texas Gov. Rick Perry on July 21 issued an order to deploy 1,000 Texas National Guard members along the border to assist the Texas Department of Public Safety with law enforcement efforts along the river. Since then, the numbers of illegals crossing the Rio Grande have dropped dramatically.

A few days later during a drive to San Antonio, I counted 26 Department of Public Safety (DPS) vehicles headed toward the Valley. There were also four tanker trucks for the state guard and each was pulling a trailer that appeared to carry all-terrain vehicles.

Read more: Police chief reassures Winter Texans: RGV is safe

   

County to hold election on hospital district

Hidalgo-County-SealThe Hidalgo County Commissioners Court called for an election Nov. 4 for voters to decide on the proposed new Hidalgo County Hospital District.

State Sen. Juan “Chuy” Hinojosa addressed the court Tuesday before the vote to call the election, reminding them that without the proposed hospital district, the county might be responsible for all of its indigent care costs, at a price higher than the proposed hospital district.

Last year, Hidalgo County paid $8 million to the government for indigent health care. The money was then multiplied by a figure so that more money than was paid out came back to help Hidalgo County meet high costs of indigent care.

Read more: County to hold election on hospital district

   

State braces for students to go back to school

tax-free-shoppingThis year’s Sales Tax Holiday is today through Sunday. As in previous years, the law exempts most clothing, footwear, school supplies and backpacks priced under $100 from sales and use taxes, which could save shoppers about $8 on every $100 they spend.

Information from local school districts on school supply requirements as well as immunizations can be found in the Back to School special section published in today’s edition of the newspaper.

Subject to the criteria explained below, all sales of qualifying items made during the holiday period qualify for the exemption, including items sold online, or by telephone or mail. Lay-away plans can be used again this year to take advantage of the sales tax holiday.

Read more: State braces for students to go back to school

   

Free, expanded STC Jag Express service begins Aug. 18

20140808 JagExpressOne of the biggest obstacles Rio Grande Valley college students face when they try to continue their education is transportation. In response to the community’s need, South Texas College and Valley Metro have partnered to provide free transportation between all five of STC’s campuses with the expansion of the Jag Express Intercampus bus service beginning on Aug. 18.

“Students will be able to utilize the transportation that’s being made available to them through the Jag Express Intercampus bus service for free and it’s also a means for them to save on their finances,” said Mike Carranza, Associate Dean of Student Financial Services & Veteran Affairs. “Now that we’re doing this, all five campuses will be connected. This is just a starting point for something bigger and for future expansion.”

The Jag Express will have three bus lines and cover five routes from STC’s Mid-Valley Campus in Weslaco to the Starr County Campus in Rio Grande City. The bus service will run from Monday to Friday and is open to the public. Students with a valid STC ID card will be allowed to use the service for free and transfer to other Valley Metro systems.

Read more: Free, expanded STC Jag Express service begins Aug. 18

   

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