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General Interest General Interest

Minors stir immigrant debate

20140702 Anzalduas-Park BP-Comm-visit AF  8906 featureBishop Mark Seitz, of El Paso, emphasized the violence unaccompanied minors flooding the Rio Grande Valley are trying to escape in their home countries in written testimony to the Homeland Security Committee.

“With the increasing numbers of unaccompanied children arriving at the U.S.-Mexico border, we must understand who these children are, what is propelling them to travel alone on an increasingly dangerous journey, and what can be done to best address their welfare,” Seitz said at the hearing last week.

Seitz spoke of a 16-year-old girl from El Salvador who said she lived happily with her family until the day she saw a classmate shot by gang members on his way home from school. That’s when members of the gang began threatening her, Seitz said, adding the gang also tried to recruit her. She was beaten and threatened with a machete.


Super Circus Heroes fly in RGV

20140711 Circus-advanceBrothers Johan and Jonathan Caro each found their partners more than a decade ago, and they all contribute in a daring performance as part of Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Presents Super Circus Heroes.

The two brothers grew up as part of the Lopez Family troupe in Monterrey, Mexico, practicing acts on the high wire and motorcycles for five hours a day. As they grew older, they toured Latin America with their family as part of the fourth generation to work in the circus.

Jonathan was the first to fall in love. It was in 2002 in Mexico, and Maria was performing a high-wire act with her family at the same circus.

Not long afterward, Johan spotted Erika in the audience in Mexico. She’s now described as the “daring beauty who stands fearlessly inside the Globe of Steel” as the two brothers on motorcycles speed within inches of her.


County seeks to eliminate concern over immigrant diseases

Hidalgo-County-SealThere is no danger to the public from the diseases being brought into Hidalgo County by the wave of immigrants coming from Central America, Bobby Villarreal told the Hidalgo County Commissioners Court on Tuesday.

Villarreal, the county’s economic development director, said Hidalgo County has seen minimal diseases among the immigrants, and Border Patrol is having people screened for illnesses in McAllen before they were being released to go other places.

Villarreal did say additional emergency funding was needed to help the local government officials meet the influx of people coming to Hidalgo County, which has been recorded at more than 1,000 per day.


Hidalgo County recovers body of 11-year-old Guatemalan boy

20140704 LA-JOYA Guatemalan-immigrant-childWhen Hidalgo County deputies were called to recover a dead body in the brush west of La Joya, it had been decomposing for two weeks.

The body was covered in blue jeans, black boots, a brown belt and had a white rosary around the neck. The shirt had been removed. A forensic pathologist estimated the age of the male in the late teens.

A phone number was inscribed on his belt buckle.

That number led authorities to the decedent's brother in Chicago, who said the body was 11-year-old Gilberto Francisco Ramos Juarez, of Guatemala. The clothes he was wearing matched the description of what Ramos Juarez was wearing the last time he was seen, which was 25 days prior in Reynosa. He was traveling with an uncle into the United States, but family members said the uncle was detained by Border Patrol. Ramos Juarez was released to a coyote with a big group, and authorities believe the 11-year-old was going to meet up with his brother in Chicago.


Winter Texans warns county ‘not to kill the golden egg’

Hidalgo-County-SealA Winter Texan drove 1,600 miles to the Valley this week to protest his property appraisal and warn Hidalgo County officials that doubling and tripling property values may cause him and others to reconsider wintering in the Rio Grande Valley.

At Monday’s commissioners court meeting, Dale Miller said the financial impact of Winter Texans on the Rio Grande Valley is a big asset to Hidalgo County and the Hidalgo County Appraisal District should not tax Winter Texan property so heavily or they might put an end to something that is good for the county.

Miller, who lives in Ohio, said he also was speaking on behalf of others who were unable to return. Miller resides in Paradise Park in McAllen. People there pay a fee to rent their lots for as long as they stay and own only the personal property left on the property. Ownership of the land remains with the corporation. Yet people who bought property leases with older model mobile homes on them were being taxed as if they owned the land as well.


Lone Star UAS Center conducts drone test flights over South Texas ranchland

20140627 Area-DroneCORPUS CHRISTI–Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi’s Lone Star Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) Center is conducting a series of flight missions this week, the first since becoming fully operational as a federally-designated test site.

Researchers conducted missions Wednesday and scheduled additional flights Thursday with the University’s RS-16 unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV).

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) designated the center as one of only six test sites in December, and approved it as operational on Friday, June 20.


The eyes of Texas are upon the border

20140623 AREA Immigration-influx 2039Two different messages were heard this week as the number of undocumented minors and families flooding the Rio Grande Valley received state and nationwide attention.

“What we’re trying to avoid is a perception that the criminal element is prevalent in our area or the situation is at a crisis,” said Hidalgo County Judge Ramon Garcia at a news conference Monday morning. “It’s not, and that’s the message we’re trying to communicate. “

Meanwhile, Gov. Rick Perry said at a news conference Monday afternoon, “There are babies that have been transported all across Mexico. I’m telling you in July and August if the message does not get out into those countries in Central America, you’re going to see a Trail of Tears again from Central America to Texas.”


Operation Interdependence seeks volunteers for Packing Party

20140627 OI-Packing-Party-PicMcALLEN – Operation Interdependence (OI)-RGV is a community based project led by a committee that raises contributions to make and send care packages for our active US troops overseas. OI-RGV has been accepting donations of general care items and letters of support for the annual send-off to our soldiers.

OI-RGV is inviting the community to join them on Thursday, July 10, from 5-9 p.m. at the Salvation Army located at 1600 N. 23rd St., McAllen, for the "Packing Party" where these care packages will be put together. This will be a fun and family-oriented event that will give everyone an opportunity to give back to our deserving military troops.

“It's a great way to teach our children and youth our appreciation for the military's sacrifice and dedication to our country. We ask if everyone could please bring a box of quart size freezer bags to the event. Refreshments will also be provided,” said IBC Bank-McAllen Senior Vice President and OI-RGV Committee Chair Dora Brown.


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