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General Interest

County warns public of jury duty scam

Hidalgo-County-SealHidalgo County Sheriff Eddie Guerra and District Clerk Laura Hinojosa are warning the public about a scam to extort money from Hidalgo County residents.

Criminals, posing as county court or law enforcement officials, are calling victims to collect fines for failing to appear for jury service. In most cases the impersonator(s) instruct their victims to pay the “fine” by using prepaid debit cards. Victims are further instructed to provide the card number and 3-digit card security code located on the back of the card, all while the impersonator remains on the line with the victim. The victims are then directed to the courthouse where a supposed court official will remove the warrant for arrest as a result of the payment.

Hinojosa said the county does not call residents and ask them to pay fines over the phone.

Read more: County warns public of jury duty scam

   

Trooper Eduardo Chavez Memorial Highway

20140829 IN Trooper-Eduardo-Chavez-highwayAt a roadside ceremony near the Starr/Hidalgo County Line, State Rep. Sergio Muñoz, Jr. unveiled a roadside marker dedicating a five-mile stretch of U.S. Highway 83 as a memorial to fallen Texas Highway Patrol Trooper Eduardo Chavez.

Surrounded by family of Chavez, state and local leaders and fellow law enforcement officers, Muñoz officially recognized the five-mile stretch, starting near the Starr/Hidalgo County line and proceeding northwest to Farm-to-Market Road 2360, as the “Trooper Eduardo Chavez Memorial Highway."

Among those in attendance were Texas Department of Public Safety Director Steven McCraw, Texas DPS Regional Commander Jose Rodriguez, Hidalgo County Sheriff J.E. "Eddie" Guerra, Hidalgo County District Attorney Rene Guerra, Pct. 3 Constable Larry Gallardo and Pct. 4 Constable Atanacio "J.R." Gaitan.

Read more: Trooper Eduardo Chavez Memorial Highway

   

Bats spotlighted at Bentsen State Park

20140823 Bentsen Park Bats lg-04The bat signal was on at Bentsen-Rio Grande Valley State Park in Mission Saturday evening.

Bats were the topic of discussion during the most recent edition of the park’s Creatures of the Night interpretive program.

With 11 different species calling the Rio Grande Valley home, helping the public better understand these underappreciated–and oftentimes feared–winged creatures of the night that make up the second largest order of mammals in the world was the program’s goal. Led by Park Ranger and Interpreter Roy Rodriguez and Jesus Franco, assistant coordinator of the Rio Grande Joint Venture (a conservation partnership), Saturday’s program began with a PowerPoint presentation featuring the “A, B, Cs” of bats followed by an outdoor demonstration of the process biologists use to document vital information about them. Information that includes, but is not limited, to their species, sex, measurements, weight and overall health.

Read more: Bats spotlighted at Bentsen State Park

   

County increases projected revenues for 2015

Hidalgo-County-SealProjected revenues for 2015 were increased from $172 million to $176 million in the third budget workshop held by Hidalgo County Commissioners Court.

At the same time, Budget Director Sergio Cruz decreased the projected shortfall from $16 million to a projected shortfall of only $35,548. At the last workshop, Cruz suggested reducing operating expenditures, the amount of money set aside for indigent health care and COPS grant employees to save $9 million.

Wednesday, Cruz found $7.5 million in additional revenues to cut the shortfall even more. Additional revenues include $2 million for the sanitation permit, $500,000 from a land sale, $2 million from salary savings, and $1 million each from third party collection, lapsed operating expenditures and additional revenue.

Read more: County increases projected revenues for 2015

   

County requests RFQ for architects for new courthouse

Hidalgo-County-SealThe Hidalgo County Commissioners Court authorized administrators to advertise for architects with extensive experience in the design, construction, and related services of judicial and courthouse facilities.

There was no discussion on the proposed new courthouse, only an approval of the request for qualifications.

Alex Palacios, of Prodigy Engineering, told the court the construction manager for the new Hidalgo County Administration Building is asking for two additional weeks to complete the project. Palacios did not give a date for final completion.

Read more: County requests RFQ for architects for new courthouse

   

Citrus leaders plan disease response

20140822 AREA Citrus-greening 0077WESLACO–Citrus growers must be proactive to save the $150 million Rio Grande Valley industry as a deadly disease continues to spread in the region, representatives of Texas Citrus Mutual emphasized at a news conference Wednesday.

Florida recently reported 80 percent of its trees are infected with citrus greening, threatening the $9 billion industry in the state.

Meanwhile, Ray Prewett, president of Texas Citrus Mutual said in the last few days, 130 newly infected trees have been identified, most in one or two groves. That brings the total confirmed infected trees to nearly 640.

Read more: Citrus leaders plan disease response

   

MRMC unveils ‘journey wall’

20140815 MRMC 60th-Anniversary 2896Pillars of Mission Regional Medical Center as well as the hospital’s history are commemorated on a “journey wall” unveiled Friday in honor of the nonprofit’s 60th anniversary.

Javier Iruegas, CEO of the hospital, said he expects the hospital to add to the wall in the coming years.

“These individuals were key to what we call courage … to help us reach that milestone in our most recent history, and for that courage and for saddling up in spite of what was happening at the time to go out and go to Washington and try to help secure funding for us,” Iruegas said.

Read more: MRMC unveils ‘journey wall’

   

County studies $18 million deficit budget

Hidalgo-County-SealHidalgo County Commissioners Court held a special workshop Tuesday to continue studying a projected $18 million budget deficit.

Last week the budget deficit was listed as $12 million; however, changes in figures showed the deficit at $18 million in the second workshop.

Still county leaders think they can cut that shortfall down to $5 million, and Budget Manager Sergio Cruz presented several ways of reducing the proposed budget, which included cutting countywide operating expenditures $5,991,560, and a reduction in work force of four percent, saving $3,155,449.

Read more: County studies $18 million deficit budget

   

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