Michael Rodriguez

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Michael Rodriguez is the deputy editor for The Monitor. He can be reached at mrodriguez@themonitor.com or at (956) 683-4439.

COMMENTARY: Keep the faith in the fight against COVID-19

By Thursday, reporters began to have that look in their eyes. The one that speaks less to fatigue and more to utter exhaustion, as the stress of the times began to fill their already-bloodshot eyes. I’ve seen it before during hurricanes, floods and other natural disasters; except now it’s as if a catastrophic storm is hitting us every single day. Despite it all, we remain in good spirits, laughing and in love with our work, serious about our duty and dedicated to informing the public. It was just a matter of time before those smiles belied something currently residing in all of us: concern. Regardless of our years of experience, COVID-19’s impact on our way of life is something we’ve never seen before. And I’m sure you, our readers, feel the same way. Granted, there have been horrific scenes and tragedies that left voids within us all, not to mention the national emergencies that put everyone on high alert and reminded us of our vulnerability. But this is different. Read the full story at themonitor.com

COMMENTARY: Keep the faith in the fight against COVID-19

By Thursday, reporters began to have that look in their eyes. The one that speaks less to fatigue and more to utter exhaustion, as the...

Alfredo Gonzalez veterans home limiting visits as virus protection measure

The Alfredo Gonzalez Texas State Veterans Home is limiting visitation to only spouses and family members as a precautionary measure to protect from the potential spread of the coronavirus, which the World Health Organization on Wednesday officially declared a global pandemic. Communications Director Karina Erickson of the Texas General Land Office said the McAllen facility is one of nine state veterans homes limiting visitation in this manner. Locations are in McAllen, Amarillo, Big Spring, Bonham, El Paso, Floresville, Houston, Temple and Tyler. Each home was notified Wednesday morning of this new, temporary visitation policy. Read the full story at themonitor.com

Cowboys and Texans fans choose which team to root for

For a stalwart Dallas Cowboys fan like Pete Garcia Jr., picking who to root for on Sunday is a no-brainer. “The major factor is the 49ers, I just never have liked them,” Garcia said referencing the Cowboys’ decades-long rivalry with San Francisco. “We were rivals even back in the 60s. I even remember (when Dallas) played John Brodie, the quarterback for the 49ers back then, and we used to beat them all the time.” Garcia, 67, is a lifelong resident of Weslaco who doesn’t remember a time when he wasn’t rooting for the Cowboys. The public works director for the city, Garcia is often seen wearing the star on his baseball caps and clothes — that is when he’s not reppin’ the Weslaco High Panthers or Weslaco East Wildcats. Read the full story at themonitor.com.

Weslaco woman charged in burglary turned murder case

Investigators with the Hidalgo County Sheriff’s Office believe the death of a 24-year-old man, who was originally suspected of burglary of a habitation and was shot Saturday by the homeowner who made the claim, is now believed to have not posed a threat and was instead the victim of a murder, Sheriff J.E. “Eddie” Guerra said at a news conference Sunday. Guerra said Eduardo Mendoza and 50-year-old Gerardo Gonzalez arrived to a residence in the 1300 block of 25th Street in Weslaco early Saturday morning to purchase marijuana. An argument, however, ensued between the two men and the homeowner’s, 41-year-old Emma Linda Gracia’s boyfriend, identified as Michael Luna. Citing voluntary statements from the shooter and Gonzalez, the sheriff said Gracia claimed to have feared for her and her boyfriend’s safety when she grabbed a .22 caliber rifle and opened fire. Read the full story at themonitor.com

Sharyland superintendent condemns social media speculation over hazing incident

Outrage over a hazing incident allegedly involving the Sharyland Pioneer swim team prompted Superintendent Maria Vidaurri to issue a statement Friday evening condemning speculation that’s run rampant on social media since news broke this week. “Some of the information that has been published on social media has been inaccurate, based on false information, or has been reckless with regard to the privacy and well-being of individual(s),” Vidaurri said in the statement. “While the District would like to answer questions posed by members of the community and address some of the inaccuracies that have been published, the District must make it a priority to protect the privacy of our parents and students, not only pursuant to State and Federal Law, but out of respect and common decency toward those individuals. For those reasons, the District is unable to disclose much detail regarding the incident.” On Tuesday, students, parents and sources close to the matter expressed concerns to The Monitor over a fall 2019 incident in which allegations were made regarding an underclassman from Pioneer being assaulted as part of a hazing ritual. Read the full story at themonitor.com.

Jenny Martinez, KRGV’s longtime news director and enigmatic figure in RGV journalism, steps down

She wrung her hands as her eyes pooled with tears, and profusely apologized for struggling to utter three words that seemed to both pain and comfort her: “Job well done.” Her face purpling, she lifted her head up just enough for her eyes to be visible again, this time with red surrounding the gray irises, she exhaled and apologized once more before explaining more steadily, albeit still excruciatingly reluctant, that this is what she needed to tell herself. That emotionally charged moment came Tuesday when Jenny Martinez, the news director for KRGV Channel 5, spoke candidly about her time as a journalist — a rare instance considering she’s long worked behind the scenes, opting against attending public and social gatherings to remain uninfluenced. Read the full story at themonitor.com.

Heartstrings: From South Texas to Juilliard, local violist’s performances move

A hum emanated from somewhere in the distance, and though faint, the sound was enough to reach the trained ears of Alejandro Romero in...

COMMENTARY: Spokesperson who shielded mayoral couple committed tax-funded media obstruction

The scene of an elected official in handcuffs, answering to criminal charges before a judge and confirming long-held suspicions of the presence of an...

For Jussie Smollett, 1 story equals 16 felony counts

BY DON BABWIN| THE ASSOCIATED PRESS CHICAGO — News that a grand jury had indicted "Empire" actor Jussie Smollett for allegedly lying to Chicago police...