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Current Conditions:
Fair, 76 F

Forecast:
Wed - Mostly Sunny. High: 94 Low: 78
Thu - Mostly Sunny. High: 94 Low: 77
Fri - Thunderstorms. High: 89 Low: 71
Sat - Partly Cloudy. High: 86 Low: 66
Sun - Mostly Sunny. High: 88 Low: 71

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General Interest

CBP brings additional resources to RGV to target criminal networks

20140404 BP-storyMcALLEN—As part of the South Texas Campaign, Customs and Border Protection has brought in additional resources and more than 100 Border Patrol agents to the Rio Grande Valley Sector to assist with the targeted enforcement efforts against transnational criminal organizations.

Utilizing a flexible and unified workforce, the STC is mobilizing resources to supplement the manpower currently in the Rio Grande Valley. In addition to personnel already deployed in from Laredo Sector; agents and vehicles have been temporarily reassigned from California and Arizona.

This risk-based approach enhances enforcement efforts and aims to disrupt and degrade criminal organizations that are responsible for smuggling illegal immigrants and drugs throughout the South Texas Corridor.

Read more: CBP brings additional resources to RGV to target criminal networks

   

Candidates question election results

Hidalgo-County-SealThe first day of early voting for the March primary, Benito Garza attempted to vote in favor or Rene Guerra; however, every time he attempted to check off Guerra’s name, it would check off another candidate.

He went back to the beginning of the ballot and started again. The same thing happened, and he requested help from election officials, and it took two people to cancel his ballot, so he could start on a new machine. He eventually was able to vote for his preferred candidates.

Garza detailed the experience in an incident report that is now at the center of a countywide controversy over whether the electronic machines have been maliciously tampered with or have otherwise malfunctioned.

Read more: Candidates question election results

   

Plans underway for State Highway 365

Hidalgo-County-SealA construction contract for the first portion of State Highway 365 is scheduled to be awarded in September, according to Dennis Burleson, of the Hidalgo County Regional Mobility Authority.

Reporting on the short-term strategic plan for the project, Burleson told the commissioners court the first portion of the international trade corridor, which will stretch from Pharr to Madero when complete, will be centered at the Pharr international bridge.

According to the information provided, the construction of segment three, a 1.84 mile length of Texas 365 (non toll) road project will be let in September and construction should be completed by June 2016 at a cost of $25.3 million. This includes federal funds of $1.5 million, state funds of $5.6 million, local funds of $18.2 million.

Read more: Plans underway for State Highway 365

   

Hidalgo County election equipment to be impounded

Hidalgo-County-SealDistrict Attorney Rene Guerra filed an application Wednesday to impound Hidalgo County’s voting machines as well as election records for the March primaries after 12 candidates requested a forensic analysis of the machines.

“It has been brought to our attention that numerous inconsistencies and discrepancies have appeared in our analysis of each candidate’s races,” states a letter signed by 10 candidates.

It was signed by Paul M. Vazaldua Jr., who ran for justice of the peace, precinct 2, place 2, and received just 5 percent of the votes; Mari Regalado, who garnered 23 percent of the votes in the race for District 26 state representative; Marla Cuellar, who received 42 percent of the vote in the race for County-Court-at-Law No. 8; Reynoldo Ortiz, who lost the race for 92nd District Court Judge with 30 percent of the votes; Elvia Rios, another justice of the peace candidate, who lost with 8 percent of the votes; Juan R. Partida, who, in the race for 275th District Court Judge, garnered the most votes (49.52 percent) but not enough to avoid a runoff; Mauro Barreiro, who ran against Partida and received 22 percent of the votes; Homer Jasso, who received the most of the of the votes in the race for justice of the peace, precinct 4, place 2, but also failed to avoid a runoff; Eloy Treviño, who garnered 18 percent of the votes for justice of the peace, precinct 2, place 2.

Read more: Hidalgo County election equipment to be impounded

   

Congressmen get first-hand look at RGV

20140319 RGV-Partnership-chat 1603When U.S. Rep. Bill Flores, R-Bryan, went to his first budget meeting at Congress, the certified public accountant brought a calculator with him.

“A lot of people looked at me like, ‘What is that?’ And then I had an idea of what the problem was,” Flores joked about balancing the budget at a conversation over coffee hosted by the Rio Grande Valley Partnership.

U.S. Reps. Kevin Brady, R-The Woodlands, and Mike Conaway, R-Midland, also sat down with moderator Sergio Sanchez of News Talk 710 KURV.

“I think spending cuts can get us halfway back to a balanced budget,” Brady said. “But we’re going to need a much stronger economy to finish the job and start paying down our debt.”

Read more: Congressmen get first-hand look at RGV

   

Participation in Operation Lone Star 2014 gets county approval

Hidalgo-County-SealHidalgo County Commissioners Court agreed to participate again in Operation Lone Star in August at the request of Eddie Olivarez, director of Hidalgo County Health and Human Services, at a Tuesday meeting

The purpose of the program is public health preparedness and response.

Olivarez said other organizations involved in Operation Lone Star are the Texas Department of Health, the Texas military, and the U.S. National Coast Guard, along with local partners from the University of Texas-Rio Grande Valley, South Texas College and local technical schools.

The program includes two interlocal agreements between Pharr-San Juan-Alamo Independent School District and La Joya ISD. It also includes an agreement between Remote Area Medical Foundation and the County of Hidalgo to provide expanded medical services to residents of Hidalgo County.

Read more: Participation in Operation Lone Star 2014 gets county approval

   

Countdown to Get Covered Bus stops in RGV

20140312 McAllen-Healthcare-Bus AF  IMG 0016McALLEN— With a 3-month-old baby at home, Amber Arriaga, 27, there was no question that she needed to sign up for insurance coverage by the end of the month.

That’s why she made a point of stopping by the “Countdown to Get Covered” bus tour hosted by Enroll America at the McAllen Public Library on Wednesday.

Arriaga’s coworker, Ruben Garza, said the organization they work for assists with the promotion of applying for healthcare across the Rio Grande Valley. Still, he said, they both would take advantage of any assistance provided because even with their knowledge of the program, they still had questions about the application.

“Even we need to pair up with navigators, and we know more about the program than the average person, so this is wonderful,” Arriaga said.

Both Arriaga and Garza work with the Texas Organizing Project, which works to improve the lives of low-income and working-class Texas families through community organizing and civic and electoral engagement. Arriaga said TOP also holds seminars that assist local citizens to gain more information on the healthcare program.

Read more: Countdown to Get Covered Bus stops in RGV

   

Drainage District looks at alternative plan for levees at Peñitas pumphouse

Hidalgo-County-SealThe Hidalgo County Drainage District agreed to look into an alternative plan to fortify the gap between the levees at the Peñitas Pumphouse at the request of Irrigation District No. 1, which owns the property.

If waters overtook the levees, much of southwest Hidalgo County would flood. An engineer representing the irrigation district told the Commissioner Court, which oversees the drainage district, the county’s temporary solution of building a wall behind the pump station would leave the station vulnerable.

If the building were to fall during a major storm, an area extending from Peñitas to Mission and Edinburg would be without water as the pumphouse produces 6.5 billion gallons of drinking water daily. It also provides 70,000 acres with irrigation water and maintains 26 miles of canals to Edinburg.

Instead, the engineer suggested the county consider fortifying the earthen levees on each side of the pump station and shore up the station itself. The total price tag for work on the building could range from $800,000 to $1 million.

Read more: Drainage District looks at alternative plan for levees at Peñitas pumphouse

   

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