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General Interest General Interest

Chief appraiser: County following state formula on mobile home property values

Hidalgo-County-SealAfter protesting, Winter Texan Dale Miller was able to get the property appraisal on his mobile home at Paradise Park in McAllen nearly cut in half, but he fears other Winter Texans won’t be so lucky.

In order to protest appraisal values, property owners must show up for a hearing during the summer, during the off-season.

But in a recent meeting with the Hidalgo County Chief Appraiser Rolando Garza and the OWLS (Objective Watchers of the Legal System), Miller was told the county is following state law.


Most agree on protecting children in immigration debate

20140718 BP-PatrolAs unaccompanied children from Central America continue to flock to the United States, most people on both side of the debate on what to do with them seem to agree on one thing–the children need to be protected.

In a vigil at Sacred Heart Church in McAllen, young adults who came to the United States illegally as youths, pleaded the plight of the children, saying their lives had been turned into a political game.

Cristina Jimenez, co-founder of United We Dream, which organized the vigil, came to the United States at the age of 13 with her family as they fled political turmoil in Ecuador.


County Health Department denies immigrants bringing many diseases

Hidalgo-County-SealEddie Olivarez, health and human services chief administrative officer for Hidalgo County, denied reports that many immigrants are bringing communicable diseases such as measles and swine flu into the United States at a Tuesday meeting.

“There have been less than 10 cases of chicken pox and no cases of measles found among the immigrants processed at the McAllen immigration center,” said Olivarez, in spite of reports to the contrary by the media. “There are cases of lice and scabies people have picked up during their long walks. But those are minor problems and not life threatening. People do not need to fear some epidemic disease will start at the center and spread throughout the community.”

According to Olivarez, the doctors, nurses and nurse practitioners that are working at the center are checking people as they come in and vaccinating them against communicable diseases. But most medical care was related to cuts, sprains and bruises the people acquired walking to get to the Valley. He said the medical problems being faced are not as large as some in the media have portrayed them.


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.


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