Alana Hernandez

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

Two charged in Laguna Heights murder

PORT ISABEL — Two suspects have been arrested in the killing of a Laguna Heights man who was found stabbed to death in a...

Sculptors create their best at Sandcastle Days

Heavy clouds loomed over the Laguna Madre area Friday morning pounding some cities with rain while creating scattered power outages. But miraculously, the storm never reached the Island during one of its most visual outdoor events of the year. A dozen master sand sculptors from around the country and world have been competing in the Island’s 32nd Annual Sandcastle Days contest held at Clayton’s Beach Bar and Grill this week. Read the full story at

Son showcases father’s achievements in film

From colorful gowns and tiered cakes to tear-jerking father-daughter dances, it’s almost every Latina girl’s dream to have her very own quinceañera on her 15th birthday. However, in order to create these elaborate, traditional celebrations, usually a large sum of money is needed. This is something Gilbert Galvan, Sr. says he noticed was hindering many of his students’ dreams of having their special night. As principal of Veterans Memorial Academy, San Benito CISD’s all-freshman campus, Galvan, Sr. says he’s received many quinceañera invitations. Read the full story at

Art from the heart

Ever since Cristian Escanuela, 29, was a child, he has always been fond of art. For him, seeing his artistic ideas come to fruition makes him feel a great deal of pride. He sees them as a reminder that he has found his sense of worth and purpose. When Cristian was in high school, he felt like working with its type of structure wasn’t right for him and didn’t continue. Read the full story at

Implementing improvements

Beachgoers will have to pay higher fees to visit Cameron County coastal parks starting Oct. 1. The Cameron County Commissioners Court voted to increase beach user fees for coastal park improvements during a meeting held this past week. The new fees will be enacted at all Cameron County coastal parks, which include Isla Blanca Park, Andy Bowie Park, Beach Access No. 3 and Beach Access No. 6 and E.K. Atwood Park, which is also known as Beach Access No. 5. Read the full story at

Honoring survivors and the fallen

A little after 2 a.m., Ed Cyganiewicz received a knock at his door. It was Sept. 15, 2001, a night Cyganiewicz says he will never forget. “I remember it clearly,” said Cyganiewicz, who was mayor at the time. “I didn’t have a peephole and I could hear the crackling of a police radio.” Upon opening the door, he saw South Padre Island Police Department Sgt. James Woodard who told him the bridge collapsed and there were people in the water. Read the full story at

Input needed, South Padre Island creates public restrooms survey

SOUTH PADRE ISLAND — Ever use the city’s public restrooms while visiting the beach? The South Padre Island Shoreline Department is currently seeking input from...

College graduate set to complete internship with Sea Turtle Inc.

SOUTH PADRE ISLAND — Emma Pontius attributes her deep connection with the ocean to spending countless days at the beach and playing in tidal...

SPI city council approves ban on sound-emitting devices from golf carts

SOUTH PADRE ISLAND — From accidents to noise complaints, golf cart usage on the Island has become a hot topic of debate for residents,...

Sea Turtle Inc. launches free Beach Toy Rental program

SOUTH PADRE ISLAND — Residents and visitors making a trip to the Island now have the option to rent beach toys instead of buying...