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General Interest

Homeland Security chief recognizes importance of trade

20140121 Area Homeland-Security 0771Standing at the Anzalduas Bridge on Tuesday, Secretary of Homeland Security Jeh Johnson said part of his mission is to pay continued attention to South Texas.

“This area is an area where we see a lot of border crossings, a lot of them non-Mexicans, which presents some challenges,” Johnson said. “We need to continually evaluate whether we need more resources.”

It was the second time Johnson, who was sworn in to the post in December, had been to the Valley. The first visit was to attend the funeral of a Customs and Border Protection officer a few weeks ago.

This week, however, Johnson came with border security in mind. He accompanied Border Patrol agents on a river mission, visited a port facility and a detention center and talked with area leaders.

Read more: Homeland Security chief recognizes importance of trade


Changes add $71,000 to cost of administrative building

Hidalgo-County-SealConstruction Manager Alex Palacios told the Hidalgo County Commissioners Court that some of the changes being made to the old Hidalgo County Administrative building would cost $71,055.

The cost includes changes to the north wall of the building on the first floor. It also includes changes on the second floor to the district attorney’s office on the southeast corner and on the northwest corner. Also included was the chiller for the HVAC system.

However, there are still more changes to come, such as the schematics for the Commissioners Court in lieu of a judicial court. More alterations are planned for the Emergency Management Office. The cost of those changes have not yet been finalized because the architectural plans are not complete.

Read more: Changes add $71,000 to cost of administrative building


Drainage District hears presentation on vegetated environmental solutions

Hidalgo-County-SealCommissioners heard a presentation from Envirolok Vegetated Environmental Solution Services during the Tuesday meeting of the Hidalgo County Drainage District.

The company comes from Oregon and has worked in several areas of the country devising soil monitoring and detention systems for erosion control.

Specific concerns are storm water management, shoreline restoration and stabilizing riverbeds. The process can be used to prevent erosion of irrigation lines from storm water. The process involves use of bags filled with 80 percent sand and 20 percent topsoil that are stacked to form walls in areas where erosion is a problem. Native plants are planted over the bags. The plants send their roots down into the bags and soil and sand inside, forming a wall against erosion.

Read more: Drainage District hears presentation on vegetated environmental solutions


Hidalgo County mails voter registration certificates

Hidalgo-County-SealHidalgo County Elections Administrator Yvonne Ramón is urging voters to be on the lookout for their new voter registration certificates, which should have landed in their mailboxes in December.

Nearly 300,000 certificates were mailed out on Dec. 5 by the Elections Department for use in the upcoming 2014 elections.

The new orange cards, which are replacing last year’s yellow certificates, verify a resident’s eligibility to vote in the elections and inform voters in which voting precinct they reside. As a reminder, voters must present an eligible photo identification at the polls to vote.  Presenting their voter registration certificate along with their photo identification may make the check-in process to vote more convenient.

Read more: Hidalgo County mails voter registration certificates


77th Texas Citrus Fiesta 2014 Schedule of Events

20140110 TCF PARADE JB 0362The 77th annual Texas Citrus Fiesta kicks off this weekend with the Product Costume Show and continues through Jan. 25 with an entire day of events. This year’s theme is “Western Glitz and Glamour.”

77th Texas Citrus Fiesta 2014 Schedule of Events

Product Costume Show
Mission Community Center
Saturday, Jan. 11 • 2 p.m.
$5 per person

Royal Reception Ball
Mission Community Center
Jan. 18, 7 p.m. - 12 a.m.
$50 per person

Royal Coronation of King Citrus and Queen Citrianna
Neuhaus Gym at Mission High School
Thursday, Jan. 23, 7 p.m.
$5 General Seating | $10 Reserved Seating

Read more: 77th Texas Citrus Fiesta 2014 Schedule of Events


Glitch stalls renovation of old county administration building

Hidalgo-County-SealProblems with the renovation of the old Hidalgo County administration building have caused the project to grind to a halt and have, according to County Judge Ramon Garcia.

The contractor has threatened to walk off the job if issues were not addressed, he said, adding that there have been as many as 25 meetings to try and work out the issues.

Alex Palacios, construction manager, told the Commissioners Court at a meeting Tuesday there had been “a little hiccup in renovations plans” for the building.

Palacios said it was not known before renovation started that the two vaults on the first floor were bearing the load for the upper floors and could not be removed. Palacios referred to the lack of knowledge as a “change of discovery” that was not recognized until demolition began.

Read more: Glitch stalls renovation of old county administration building


H-E-B brings in the New Year with healthy options and promotions

20140103 HEB Marcie-Perez AF  5489SHARYLAND—A healthy lifestyle is the New Year’s resolution on most people’s list for 2014, but getting started on a new diet is usually the hardest step.

Across the Rio Grande Valley, H-E-B stores are hoping to make the first few days of the year more accessible to healthy decisions and products in a lower price range.

Marcie Perez, registered dietician for H-E-B, explained between Jan. 1-14 stores would be holding the Start Fresh Fest. Sample stations were set up across the store located on 2409 E Expressway 83, offering customers healthier options for their diet.

Some of the options include new products from H-E-B that are easier on a customer’s piggybank as opposed to pricier healthy items. The store now carries it’s own Greek yogurt, cold soups in four flavors and a new chocolate flavor was added to the store’s brand of milk, Mootopia.

Read more: H-E-B brings in the New Year with healthy options and promotions


Hospitals assessed $44 million for indigent care

Hidalgo-County-SealThe nine private hospitals participating in the Hidalgo County Health Care Funding District will be assessed 3.5 percent of their profits, or $44 million, for indigent health care based on their net profit of $1.3 billion, Eddie Olivarez, director of Hidalgo County Health and Human Services told Hidalgo County commissioners at their Friday, Dec. 20 meeting.

The hospitals include Doctors Hospital at Renaissance, Knapp Hospital in Weslaco, Lyford Hospital, McAllen Medical Center, Mission Regional Medical Center, Rio Grande Regional Hospital, Solera in McAllen, South Texas Hospitals and Tropical Texas Behavioral Health.

The Hidalgo County Tax Department will be responsible for collecting the money from the hospitals and sending it to the state each quarter.

Read more: Hospitals assessed $44 million for indigent care


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