A. Colleen DeGuzman

Colleen DeGuzman is a staff writer for The Monitor, covering features and general assignments. She can be reached at (956) 683-4424 or cdeguzman@themonitor.com.

The Best of Times: Rock group STYX returns to RGV

Even after releasing 16 studio albums since 1972, James Young “JY,” vocalist and lead guitarist of American rock band STYX, is still astounded by...

Scars, needs run deep for Mission family of mother, son who died in fire

It has been more than a year since Leticia Lopez took in her niece and two nephews after they lost their mother and youngest brother in a house fire. On July 22, 2018, Maria Izabel Maldonado, her 5-year-old son, Gustavo Maldonado, and Johnathan Palomarez, a 15-year-old family friend, died in the Mission fire. Johnathan was the boyfriend of Leticia’s 16-year-old niece, and Gustavo was one of two twin brothers, and would be 7 years old today. Read the full story at themonitor.com.

Community leader driven by pride, faith

In high school, Dalinda Gonzalez-Alcantar’s dream was to become a missionary. But as fate would have it, she instead pursued a different mission, one that landed her at the Boys & Girls Club of McAllen. Going on her third year as CEO of the nonprofit organization, and being the youngest to ever hold that position, Gonzalez-Alcantar is also a community leader in other ways: She sits on the city of McAllen’s Mayor’s Wellness Council, the UTRGV Enactus Advisory Board — a global learning platform dedicated to developing college students’ entrepreneurship and social innovation skills — and the Leadership Development Board of Texas State (her alma mater) as a representative of South Texas. Read the full story at themonitor.com.

Aaron Watson to mark 20-year career at Thanksgiving show Saturday in Pharr

Country music singer-songwriter Aaron Watson said that his newest album, “Red Bandana,” is a reflection of two things: how he’s changed after 20 years as an artist, and the 20 years worth of gratitude for his fans. “There is a big difference between a 20-year-old and 40-year-old, and the older you get, the more life experience you get,” Watson, an Abilene native, said. “And I just have so many people to thank for everything in my life.” Watson will be performing “Red Bandana” along with songs from his past albums at Saturday at the Pharr Events Center. Read the full story at themonitor.com.

Camaraderie theme of McAllen tourney joining Mexican teams with local ballplayers

Whether it was a seven-minute commute, an hour flight or 18-hour drive, youth baseball teams from McAllen and Mexico met here Saturday morning to play ball. Hosted by the Boys & Girls Club of McAllen in partnership with the city of McAllen and McAllen Chamber, a total of 36 teams — 16 teams from Mexico — are competing in a two-day McAllen International Youth Baseball tournament at the McAllen Youth Baseball Complex. Lugging their equipment behind them, the young players smiled and laughed spiritually, excited to play as they walked next to their teammates. Despite how far they traveled, or what language they used in their team huddles, the tournament focused on one thing: camaraderie. Read the full story at themonitor.com.

FRIO! McAllen to open Wednesday, run through Jan. 6 at convention center

For the first time, starting Wednesday, the McAllen Convention Center will be hosting the closest thing the city will experience this season to a...

Honoring A’zeuz: Local law enforcement join Palmview police in mourning beloved K-9

Officers from across the Rio Grande Valley, despite the brisk weather, lined up Friday afternoon in front of the parks and recreation center here to honor one of their own: retired K-9 officer A’zeuz. A’zeuz’s partner, Cpl. Cosme Muñiz III of Palmview, approached his wife, Gracie Muñiz, who was sitting in a police car parked in front of the building, holding A’zeuz’s urn. Cosme paused, solemnly saluting the ashes of his partner of 12 years before taking the urn. And like countless times before, walked with his best friend into the building. Read the full story at themonitor.com.

‘We are all dreamers’: Hope, community engagement focus of TEDxMcAllen event on Tuesday

The theme of this year’s TEDxMcAllen event came from a Post-it Note that read “dreamers.” During a meeting months ago with some TEDxMcAllen organizers and a variety of community leaders, Marcos Silva, the curator of the event, said that they were asked to write down the words that came to mind when they thought about the Valley. One answer stood out. “We were organizing all the responses into themes, and the one Post-it said ‘dreamers,’” Silva said. “And it hit us that every section we were organizing had somehow been, or is connected to a dreamer. “We realized that in one way or another, we are all dreamers.” Read the full story at themonitor.com.

99-year-old McAllen woman commits life to painting

McALLEN — Surrounded by her artwork, 99-year-old Catalina Martinez was painting her latest piece of a bird perched on a tree last week at...

Unable to move or speak, Donna girl’s struggle with Rett syndrome prompts mother to...

It’s been more than three months since Luz Perez has smiled. The 11-year-old Donna girl suffers from Rett syndrome, a severe neurological and developmental disorder that renders those who live with it immobile and nonverbal. In Luz’s case, she’s not only confined to her pink motorized wheelchair, but can only communicate by smiling. If she prefers one hairbow over another, she smiles. It’s also, of course, her way of expressing joy. When Enrique Iglesias’ music starts to play, she smiles. And when her older brother, Diego dances for her, she smiles. Read more at themonitor.com