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Current Conditions:
Fair, 98 F

Forecast:
Fri - Partly Cloudy. High: 100 Low: 79
Sat - Partly Cloudy. High: 100 Low: 79
Sun - Mostly Sunny. High: 100 Low: 79
Mon - Mostly Sunny. High: 102 Low: 77
Tue - Sunny. High: 102 Low: 78

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General Interest

Palmhurst H -E-B introduces expanded product lines

20140430 Mi Mercado HEB lg-08PALMHURST—H-E-B now has more in store for customers with the addition of thousands of new products in every major department throughout the Palmhurst store. Customers will find a bigger product assortment, broader brand selections and enhanced organic items.

To showcase all of the new product offerings now available at the Palmhurst H-E-B, customers are invited to sample their way through the store during the “My Palmhurst H-E-B Sampling Showcase,” scheduled for Saturday, May 3, from noon until 6 p.m. A sampling card will be given to each customer as they stop at food stations to taste the many new products available.

Customers will also have the chance to enter to win free groceries for a year.

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County looks at grant for indigent capital murder defense

Hidalgo-County-SealA grant proposed to provide funding for additional manpower in the Hidalgo County Public Defenders Office could either save the county a lot of money or cost it.

Chief Public Defender Jaime E. Gonzalez asked Hidalgo County Commissioners Court to approve a grant application for 2015 Indigent Defense Multi-Year Discretionary Grant for capital murder defense Tuesday. Gonzalez said there are only eight attorneys in Hidalgo County approved to defend capital murder cases, where the penalty for the defendant, if found guilty, would be life without parole or death.

The proposed grant would provide the county with two attorneys and two investigators to take care of capital murder cases in Hidalgo County. They would be able to handle up to 12 cases per year. While Hidalgo County has averaged two to three capital murder cases per year, five or six years ago 10 defendants had separate trials. The cost for the county to provide indigent defense services ran into the millions, according to Gonzalez. Indigent means the defendant is unable to afford legal counsel.

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Public invited to plant a tree at National Butterfly Center

NABA LogoThe public is invited to come out and plant a tree today at the National Butterfly Center in honor of Arbor Day. Between 11:30 a.m. and 1 p.m. the National Butterfly Center is planting 100 trees to commemorate the day and to celebrate the groundbreaking of the next phase of their development, according to Marianna Treviño-Wright, executive director.

Treviño-Wright encourages the public to bring their shovels and encourage friends, co-workers and family to join the effort and then enjoy a free brisket picnic under the palapa. Regular entrance fees will apply for the event.

April 25 marks the 142nd anniversary of the national holiday to promote environmental conservation and community beautification – two goals shared by the NBC.   The native trees being used will form an extension to the existing Hackberry Trail and provide additional breeding and feeding areas for butterflies, birds and wildlife of South Texas.

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OWLS, citizens oppose new courthouse plan

20140425 Courthouse“I am so disappointed in the design presented by ERO Architects for the new courthouse,” OWLS (Objective Watchers of the Legal System) member Virginia Townsend told members of the Hidalgo County Commissioners Court in the Tuesday, April 22, meeting of the court.

“I was on the planning committee and went to every meeting,” she continued. “But the design presented last week was nothing like what we approved. We had a nice building that matched the design on the Museum of South Texas History so the designs around the square would match. We also had it divided into two towers, one for criminal courts and one for civil courts. The committee also planned to use the old historic courthouse to provide offices and possible additional court space for future use.

“There is too much glass in the design for South Texas where it is so hot. Electric bills for cooling will be very high. The design is impractical.”

“But the worst part is that no one is yet telling us how much we are going to have to pay for it.” Once priced at $75 million, Judge Ramon Garcia said in the previous meeting the price would be higher while ERO Architects refused to speculate on the total cost until final plans were completed.

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Commissioners Court views design for new courthouse

20140418 Courthouse-RenderingHidalgo County and City of Edinburg leaders viewed plans Tuesday for the new county courthouse at a joint workshop.

They were told in 1908 the county had a building of 6,000 square feet to serve a population of 12,350. In 1954, a new courthouse was built with 56,000 square feet to serve a population of 168,629. An annex building was constructed in 1968. In 1978, three additional stories were added to the north wing. In 2008 a sally port was added for better control of prisoners.

By 2010, it had been expanded to 294,833 to serve a population of 774,765. Now, a new 471,000 square-foot courthouse is being designed to meet the needs of the county for the next 25 years.

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Cuellar, Ortiz to appeal election contest ruling

Hidalgo-County-SealAttorneys for Marla Cuellar and Rey Ortiz, candidates in the March primaries who filed election contests, have filed notices of appeal after a district court threw out their cases.

Cuellar made an unsuccessful bid for the County Court-at-Law No. 8 bench, and Rey Ortiz lost the race to become the 92nd District Court Democratic candidate in the November race.

In an April 11 hearing, Judge Manuel Bañales granted pleas to jurisdiction filed by attorneys for Omar Maldonado, who won the race for County Court-at-Law No. 8, and Luis Singleterry, who came out on top in the 92nd District Court race, dismissing the cases.

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Precinct No. 4 gets new constable

20140411 Commisisoners-CourtAtanacio “J.R.” Gaitan was named the new constable for Hidalgo Country Precinct No. 4 during the April 8 meeting of the Hidalgo County Commissioners Court.

Gaitan replaces Eddie Guerra, who was named interim sheriff in the previous meeting. After being selected Gaitan, posted the required $1,500 bond and returned at the end of the meeting with Judge Rudy Delgado, who officially swore him in as Constable of Precinct No. 4.

Meanwhile, in order to save money, the court agreed to refinance bonds as presented by Cris Vela, financial advisor with First Southwest. Bonds refinanced were Limited Tax Refunding Bonds Series 2014A and Limited Tax Refunding Bonds, Taxable Series 2014B.

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New Chief Patrol Agent takes reins of Rio Grande Valley Sector

20140411 Chief-Kevin-OaksEDINBURG—Kevin W. Oaks has been appointed as the new chief patrol agent of the Rio Grande Valley Sector. Oaks officially entered on duty in his new position Sunday and replaces Chief Patrol Agent Rosendo Hinojosa, who retired in January.

Oaks most recently served as the Operations Division Chief, Office of Border Patrol in Washington, D.C. His distinguished career in the Border Patrol has included a variety of supervisory, managerial, and leadership positions, including chief patrol agent of the Buffalo Sector and Commander of the Border Patrol Tactical Unit. He has served 29 years with the Border Patrol and a total of 33 years with the federal government, including his service in the U.S. Marine Corps.

As chief patrol agent of RGV Sector, Oaks will manage more than 3,000 Border Patrol agents and have oversight of nine Border Patrol stations, three traffic checkpoints and an intelligence office.

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