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General Interest General Interest

Garza may stay as consultant for Hidalgo County Drainage District

Hidalgo-County-SealGodfrey Garza said Tuesday that if the compensation was right, he would be willing to stay as consulting director of the Hidalgo County Drainage District until current bond election projects are completed.

Garza said this at a meeting to discuss what requirements would be necessary for a person to replace Garza in that role.

Commissioner Joel Palacios of Edinburg was in favor of Garza staying until the projects were completed instead of trying to bring in a new employee during the middle of them.

One of the requirements recommended by Garza was the person hired to replace him should be an engineer. Garza is not an engineer, but he has been with the drainage district for 19 years and rose through the ranks before his retirement.


Judge grants summary judgment in Hidalgo County State Representative District 36 election contest

Hidalgo-County-SealDistrict Judge Robert Blackmon granted a summary judgment filed by State Rep. Sergio Muñoz Jr. on an election contest for the March primaries Monday morning.

Rolando Rios, attorney for Mari Regalado, who filed the contest, had asked for a continuance, arguing that the information his client needs for the case will come to the light in the next few weeks. A grand jury, he said, has requested a forensic analysis of the voting machines used during the primaries. Hidalgo County Commissioners Court placed an item on Tuesday’s agenda to approve $110,000 of the district attorney’s forfeiture funds for the endeavor.


Lawmen get prison time

Hidalgo-County-SealThe courtroom full of loved ones sat in silence, with the exception of the occasional sob, sniff or gasp, as one-by-one members of the Panama Unit and their cohorts were sentenced to federal prison.

“There are no words that I can say that can undo the wrong that I have done,” said Alexis Espinoza, former Mission police officer, as he asked for leniency. “I have let everybody down, especially the court. I have a 5-year-old little girl I’m not going to see grow up—all because of greed.”

He was one of the last of nine law enforcement officers and two drug traffickers sentenced this week as a result of the corruption of the Panama Unit, a narcotics task force headed by the Hidalgo County Sheriff’s Office and housed out of the Mission Police Department.


Regents name Guy Bailey sole finalist for president of UTRGV

utrgv-prelim-logoAUSTIN–Guy Bailey, a proven leader with extensive experience at the helm of large research institutions, has been selected by the University of Texas System Board of Regents as the sole finalist for the position of founding president for the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley.

Bailey has served as chancellor of the University of Missouri-Kansas City, the president of Texas Tech University and the University of Alabama, and provost of the University of Texas at San Antonio. While at UMKC, which is home to schools of medicine, dentistry, pharmacy and law, Bailey developed an action plan designed to make the institution a model research university.

Under state law, Regents must name a finalist for a university presidency at least 21 days before making the appointment.


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.


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.


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.


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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