Mitchell Ferman

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Mitchell Ferman covers the city of McAllen and cross-border trade and politics for The Monitor. He can be reached at mferman@themonitor.com or (956) 683-4474.

McAllen awards $3.8M design contract for Anzalduas Bridge construction

City commissioners on Monday awarded a $3.8 million architectural contract to the McAllen firm S&B Infrastructure, a year-long process that is expected to map out the construction of infrastructure to accommodate commercial truck traffic traveling north and southbound over the Anzalduas International Bridge. “Considering all the red tape involved, that’s pretty reasonable,” McAllen Mayor Jim Darling said of the price tag. He added: “This is a huge step to getting full commercial on our bridges.” But that price represents just 7.12% of the $54 million city staff estimates the total construction at the Anzalduas bridge will cost by the time it's completed, and city officials hope that funding will come from various sources. Read the full story at themonitor.com.

Laredo company announces acquisition of 3,400 acres in south McAllen, Mission

Laredo-based Killam Companies has acquired 3,400 acres of land in South Mission and McAllen, stretching from the area around the Anzalduas International Bridge to the Sharyland region to areas in between, the company announced on Friday. The property, which includes a lot of farmland, will be developed into neighborhoods, with homes starting at $140,000, parks, walking and biking trails, education opportunities for children and commercial and entertainment districts. In the swaths of land surrounding the Anzalduas bridge, Cliffe Killam, a partner at the company, said there will be industrial warehouses and other cross-border trade related opportunities for businesses. Read the full story at themonitor.com.

Laredo company announces acquisition of 3,400 acres in south Mission, McAllen

MISSION — Laredo-based Killam Companies has acquired 3,400 acres of land in South Mission and McAllen, stretching from the area around the Anzalduas International...

Sen. Cornyn says NAFTA 2.0 vote looking unlikely before end of year

U.S. Sen. John Cornyn on Thursday said he is becoming “increasingly pessimistic” that the U.S. House will vote on the new North American Free Trade Agreement before the end of the year, just days after one of the Rio Grande Valley’s three members of Congress, U.S. Rep. Henry Cuellar, predicted Congress could come to an agreement this week. “I’m worried that we’re going to run out of time,” Cornyn told reporters on a conference call on Thursday. He added: “Once the articles of impeachment come over to the Senate, we can’t do anything else.” Read the full story at themonitor.com.

Rep. Cuellar: Congress on brink of new trade pact

U.S. Rep. Henry Cuellar on Monday predicted that Congress could come to an agreement this week on a “Nafta 2.0,” more than a year after the leaders of the United States, Canada and Mexico agreed on a new North American Free Trade Agreement. “We’re close,” Cuellar, D-Laredo, said, citing senior officials from Mexico and the U.S. to whom he has talked with in recent days. “It all depends on what Mexico is willing to accept.” Read the full story at themonitor.com.

Update: Cornyn confirms migrant aid reimbursement approved for McAllen

The national board charged with dispersing financial reimbursements to entities that cared for migrants seeking asylum along the southern border has approved $109,312.59 in reimbursements for the city of McAllen, U.S. Rep. Henry Cuellar said on Monday. When the first round of funding — from a pot of $25 million authorized by Congress this summer to reimburse governments and non-government organizations in border states — was distributed in the fall, McAllen was not among the recipients. Since 2014, cities such as McAllen and nonprofit groups like Catholic Charities have temporarily taken in asylum-seeking migrants who federal authorities drop off downtown as they await their immigration court hearings. Read the full story at themonitor.com

MxLAN festival to return to McAllen in 2020

City commissioners this week all but assured there will be a second edition of MxLAN, the five-day arts and music festival held by the McAllen Chamber of Commerce at the McAllen Convention Center for the first time this past summer. Commissioners voted unanimously at Monday’s city commission meeting to increase the city’s financial contribution to the festival from $69,000 in 2019 to $125,000 at the 2020 festival. Commissioners Tania Ramirez and Victor “Seby” Haddad did not vote on the ordinance — they were absent from Monday’s meeting. Read the full story at themonitor.com.

McAllen authorizes contract to analyze social media

When city commissioners in McAllen retreat to the private portion of their bi-monthly meetings, they typically return to a mostly empty commission chambers, cast votes on what was discussed in secret with hardly a dispute and adjourn the meeting. Not on Monday. “On that one, I don’t feel comfortable at all,” Commissioner Javier Villalobos, an attorney, said of a six-month, $12,000 contract with ZenCity Technologies, a company that contracts with municipalities to analyze social media comments in hopes of identifying trends in discussions about the city. Read the full story at themonitor.com.

Officials praise, propose tweaks to new NAFTA deal

Days away from the one-year anniversary of the Canada, United States and Mexico leaders signing a revamped North American Free Trade Agreement, Congress has still not authorized the new trade deal. Facing some pressure to call a U.S. House vote on a new agreement, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has not set a date for a vote on the United States-Canada-Mexico Agreement, the name of the new deal. Recently, officials from the Rio Grande Valley and other officials visiting the region recently have made pitches supporting the deal, as well as proposing tweaks. U.S. Rep. Henry Cuellar, D-Laredo, and U.S. Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, in a panel in Pharr this fall both supported the deal. Read the full story at themonitor.com

UTRGV President Guy Bailey to grand marshal McAllen Holiday Parade

Mayor Jim Darling and city commissioners on Tuesday announced that University of Texas Rio Grande Valley President Guy Bailey will be the grand marshal at the city's annual holiday parade on Dec. 7.   Bailey, who has lived in South Texas for just five years and who was recently named 2019 Border Texan of the Year, will be joined in the parade by Telemundo's Carolina Sandoval and Jorge Bernal, Dallas Cowboys lineman La'el Collins and former defensive end and Super Bowl XII Champion Ed "Too Tall" Jones, all of whom were announced in recent weeks. Read the full story at themonitor.com.