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General Interest General Interest

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.


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


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.


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.


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.


County, state sees influx of flu cases

Hidalgo-County-SealHidalgo County, along with the state of Texas, has seen occurrences of influenza during influenza season becoming more prevalent as the season progresses.

Hidalgo County had 18 estimated cases of Influenza A-H1N1 in the county as of Dec. 26. There were four adults hospitalized for other medical diagnoses, which had been complicated by H1N1. This estimate is calculated from the Influenza Surveillance Program conducted by Hidalgo County Health and Human Services Department.

Seasonal influenza is not a reportable condition in the state of Texas; local health departments do not receive reported cases of influenza. While influenza-associated pediatric (individuals under the age of 18) mortality cases are reportable, these occur in very rare instances. As a result, counts are estimates and are nearly impossible to track on a regular basis.


CBP project offers rancher peace of mind

20131219 Penitas Border-Patrol-Aerostat 0569 featurePEÑITAS—Standing on a piece of property about a half-mile south of U.S. 83 with a clear view of Mexico, rancher Mauro Reyna could think of no better place for a pilot project aimed at tracking illegal traffic across the border.

It's the second phase of testing for aerostats, helium-filled balloons with infrared cameras, in the Rio Grande Valley. Border Patrol Rio Grande Valley Sector Chief Rosendo Hinojosa said the equipment, originally deployed in Afghanistan by the Department of Defense, will undergo six months of testing on the Texas-Mexico border.

"Understanding that we've got 54 miles of what we call tactical infrastructure, which is the fence, the reality is that that fencing stops in Peñitas. I've seen several news reports from the police chief talking about the issues that impact this community as a result of that," Hinojosa said.


La Joya students bring cheer to local families

20131218 LJISD Toy-giveaway IMG 5262LA JOYA—Claudia Portales, a mother of five daughters, said her only wish for Christmas was for her children to be happy. She carried her 1-year-old on her side and he held tightly onto a peppermint candy cane.

Only a few minutes before, Portales was hanging her children’s clothes out to dry on a wire fence that bordered her burgundy home—made from plywood and pieced together on cement blocks.

There was no chance of gifts or a real holiday in the Portales home before they received a Christmas surprise Wednesday. La Joya High School National Honor Society students arrived on a school bus and marched up her driveway, gifts in hand, wearing antlers and Santa Claus hats.


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