Michael Rodriguez

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

MOSTHistory’s ‘Bearing Witness’ to chronicle Valley lives lost to COVID-19

When the Rio Grande Valley’s first case of COVID-19 was confirmed in March, no one could predict the precise impact it would have on...

Daughter: Parents who died due to COVID-19 robbed of chance to say goodbye

“They had more years in them, they had more years and they robbed us. Those people who don’t social distance, they robbed us of...

Hurricane Hanna brings more devastation to virus-ravaged Rio Grande Valley

There’s 2020, and then there’s 2020 in the Rio Grande Valley, where devastation has struck on two fronts in a perfect storm of disaster...

COMMENTARY: Why the Rio Grande Valley will thrive again

The following is a text message I sent to my publisher Friday morning. “The crack in my armor is getting bigger, and I’m beginning to lose my cool. I’m taking the day to step away, and write, lest I blow up at another reporter who’s working their ass off.” Knowing precisely what I was referring to, he replied: “Yep, I understand.” 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 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.