The weekend is almost here which means it’s time for our latest issue.
As always, please enjoy this preview of our top stories which include an electric rate decrease for Sharyland Plantation residents and the National Butterfly Center finding itself in the middle of the push for the border wall.
To read these articles and more in full, be sure to pick up our latest issue tomorrow wherever our newspapers are sold.
Marianna Treviño-Wright stands between two brush cutters left behind by a construction crew she spotted on property owned by the National Butterfly Center July 20. Progress times photo by Jose De Leon III
Push for border wall disrupts National Butterfly Center
By Jose De Leon III
As members of the United States House of Representatives prepare to vote on a bill that could add $1.6 billion for construction of the border wall, a local nature center has gained national attention as it joins two other local attractions that could be affected by construction of the border wall.
Last week, Marianna Treviño-Wright, executive director for the National Butterfly Center, said she found a work crew on the butterfly center’s property who told her they were on orders from U.S. Customs and Border Protection clearing land for the border wall.
Treviño-Wright said the workers had chainsaws and work trucks and had cut and shred brush, trees and plants to create what appeared to be a patrol road that led to the Rio Grande River. Treviño Wright said she found surveyor stakes and “X” marks on the property.
“We were not notified of any work plans, nothing to give us warning about this construction,” she said. “Who knows how long they’ve been here working.
The incident occurred nearly one week after a July 14 article from the Texas Observer magazine first reported that private contractors and U.S. Customs and Border Protection officials have been conducting similar activity preparing to build an 18-foot levee wall through the federally owned, 2,088-acre Santa Ana Wildlife Refuge that would stretch three miles.
An anonymous official was quoted in the article as saying that if the levee wall is constructed, it will essentially destroy the refuge as land in the area would have to be cleared for the construction of a road south of the wall and for surveillance cameras and light towers on both sides of the wall.
Plans for proposed $141 million county courthouse back on track
By Henry Miller
MCALLEN – A soft applause rippled through the few people remaining in the audience following Hidalgo County Judge Ramon Garcia’s following words: “I look forward to working with you guys.”
That statement came about four hours into Tuesday’s Hidalgo County Commissioners Court meeting. It was aimed at Jacobs Management Consultants after the two sides came to an agreement to move forward with a $4.5 million contract appointing Jacobs as project manager for the $141 million new Hidalgo County Court project. The vote to move forward with Jacobs and take the next steps toward construction of the courthouse back on a green light was unanimous.
Electric rate increase becomes decrease for Sharyland residents
By Jose De Leon III
Mission and McAllen residents living in the Sharyland Plantation area will no longer have to worry about a proposed increase in their electric rates following a transaction with their electric utility provider.
Sharyland Utilities announced in a news release Monday a transaction with the Dallas-based transmission and distribution electric utility, Oncor. As part of this agreement, Sharyland Utilities will exchange their retail distribution assets and operations for a set of Oncor’s transmission lines in West and Central Texas. In connection with this agreement, Sharyland Utilities and Sharyland Distribution & Transmission Services, L.L.C. have agreed to dismiss Sharyland’s current rate case that would’ve affected customers in the Sharyland Plantation area, the release states.
This proposed transaction means that Sharyland’s approximately 54,000 retail distribution customers across Texas will become Oncor customers and, as a result, see significantly reduced regulated retail delivery rates.