Alana Hernandez

Alana Hernandez is a Reporter for the Valley Morning Star. She can be reached at or (956) 430-6239.

San Benito Museum features “Preoccupations” exhibit

From food such as tacos and burritos to a variety of text and depictions of people, art enthusiasts will be able to witness a variety of pieces that showcase a unique twist and flair. The San Benito Cultural Heritage Museum’s latest exhibit “Preoccupations” features an assortment of acrylic paintings by Edinburg resident Paul Valadez. Originally from California, Valadez moved to the Rio Grande Valley in 2004 and works as a full-time lecturer in the Arts Department at the University of Texas-Rio Grande Valley. Read the full story at

Sunny Glen continues preparations for new Transitional Living Center

Young adults who have experienced neglect or abandonment as a child and are in need of a little extra help as they transition into adulthood will soon have a place to call home while they find their footing. Sunny Glen Children’s Home, a nonprofit organization that provides a home for abused and neglected children, is gearing up to open its Sunny Glen Transitional Living Center. The center will be located on Jackson Street in downtown Harlingen and will provide housing for Sunny Glen graduates as they age out of the nonprofit’s campus in San Benito. Read the full story at

South Padre to have hospital, medical center

Residents and visitors of this coastal area will soon have closer access to hospital and medical center health care. During a City Council meeting Wednesday, South Padre Island EMS medical director Dr. Joe Ybarra gave an update regarding future medical provisions for the city. Ybarra, along with Chris Adams, an associate of Sam Wilkinson, announced that a hospital and medical center will be built on the Island and is estimated to open in March of 2021. Read the full story at

Fourth of July event to be held on South Padre

Due to the coronavirus pandemic, entertainment performances have been on hold for a few months. However, the state’s easing of restrictions has enabled entertainment venues to host performances again if they follow certain health protocols. During a press conference held Wednesday afternoon, Cameron County officials, along with event organizers and sponsors announced they will host a Red, White and Beach Fest on July 3 and 4 at the Cameron County Amphitheater and Event Center on South Padre Island. Read the full story at

Vandals damage South Padre Island’s Sandcastle Village

The scattered remains of engraved sand sculptured hearts and large, themed sand sculptures can be found spread throughout this once festive, tourist attraction. Several sand sculptures in the Holiday Sandcastle Village on South Padre Island suffered significant damage this weekend by vandals.   “It’s terrible,” sandcastle village founder and business owner Lucinda “Sandy Feet” Wierenga said with a sigh. “It made me so sad." Read the full story at

Sea Turtle, Inc. to reopen today

Individuals, groups and families are now able to visit this local nonprofit’s residents and patients again. After being closed since late March due to the coronavirus pandemic, Sea Turtle, Inc. will reopen its facility today. The facility opens Tuesdays through Sundays at 10 a.m. and ticket sales end at 4:15 p.m. Read the full story at

Island unveils world record mesquite sea turtle sculpture

This coastal city is continuing to showcase its local marine life and artists through a variety of artwork displayed around the area. The city of South Padre Island Convention and Visitors Bureau (CVB) unveiled a world record mesquite sea turtle carving Monday afternoon at the Sea Ranch Restaurant. According to CVB personnel, the sculpture is a record-breaking tribute to South Padre Island’s sea turtles. Read the full story at

Local country musician adjusts to changes caused by COVID-19

SAN BENITO — From weekly performances and creating new material in the studio to managing every aspect of her career, country musician Madelyn Victoria Vallejo,...

Caring for others: Harlingen resident pursues medical career

HARLINGEN — April Estrada, 20, has always had a passion for helping people. From helping her five younger siblings whenever they were sick or hurt...

Sea turtle nesting season begins on Texas Coast

From now through September, many female sea turtles will be traveling toward the Texas Coast to find their desired nesting locations. Because of this, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service representatives are urging Texas coastal visitors to do their part in helping protect these threatened and endangered sea turtles that are making their way to the beach. According to FWS representatives, these species include threatened loggerhead and green sea turtles, as well as Kemp’s ridley sea turtles, which are the most critically endangered sea turtles in the world. Read the full story at