Matthew Wilson

Matthew Wilson is a multimedia and general assignments reporter for The Monitor. He can be reached at (956) 683-4425 or at

Bond set for man wielding chainsaw at protesters

A man who was seen shouting and brandishing a chainsaw at Black Lives Matter protesters downtown McAllen on Friday was arraigned Saturday and is being held on bonds totaling $17,000. The individual, Daniel Peña, 44, was charged with four counts of deadly conduct and one count of assault — class A misdemeanors. Peña was arrested by McAllen police after the incident occurred Friday afternoon. Read the full story at

Black Lives Matter demonstrators march in McAllen

The protesters came in waves here Friday afternoon, marching from Archer Park and the northside of downtown to the parking lot in front of city hall where they chanted and waved banners supporting Black Lives Matter and speaking out against police brutality. The march was the latest in a string of Rio Grande Valley protests that have joined demonstrations opposing racism and the death of George Floyd, a black man who died at the hands of Minneapolis police on May 25. The demonstration was peaceful, with the exception of an individual who accosted marchers with a chainsaw while hurling slurs and insults. That man has since been taken into police custody, according to McAllen Police Chief Victor Rodriguez. Read the full story at

McAllen police: Man wielding chainsaw at protestors in custody; charges pending

McAllen Police Chief Victor Rodriguez confirmed Friday afternoon that an individual seen shouting and brandishing a chainsaw at protestors downtown had been detained. “Thus far it’s been the only incident we’ve had at today’s event,” he said. “We’ve identified that person, we’ve detained that person and are continuing our investigation into the particular incident.” Rodriguez later added that the man is in custody and the department is assessing what charges will be filed. Read the full story at

Black Lives Matter discussion draws support in Edinburg

With loud voices on both sides of the aisle dominating conversation in the wake of protests, demonstrations and riots that have sprung up across the country following the death of George Floyd last month, the Black Lives Matter on the Border discussion here at the gazebo near city hall Thursday was marked by the amount of listening that went on. Floyd, a black man, died after a Minneapolis police officer knelt on his neck during an arrest. Misael Ramirez, founder of the activist group Craft Cultura, was one of the event’s organizers and acted as a moderator for the discussion. He said the event was held to stand in solidarity with black victims of police brutality and with the Black Lives Matter movement. Read the full story at

UTRGV lab dramatically ups coronavirus testing capacity

In early April, UTRGV virologist Dr. John Thomas predicted he and the rest of the team of graduate students responsible for processing COVID-19 tests at the university would face an “avalanche” of samples. He was right. Today, a little over two months after Thomas and his team began vigorously processing samples, the lab can process between 1,000 and 1,500 tests a day compared to the 400 tests it processed the week after UTRGV opened drive-thru testing sites in early April. Read the full story at

Valley’s recent showers helping alleviate drought

It might be time to dust off your umbrella. The latest in a string of squalls rolled through Hidalgo County on Monday afternoon, knocking out power and prompting flood advisories, and it likely won’t be the last storm Rio Grande Valley residents see in the near future. According to AEP Texas, more than 12,800 residents lost power in the Valley. Read the full story at

Edinburg police respond to reports of armed man near UTRGV

Police here responded to several reports of an armed individual carrying a shotgun and an American flag down University Drive near the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley on Monday afternoon.  Although many individuals who contacted law enforcement described the man as wearing a bulletproof vest, Arielle Benedict with Edinburg police said that wasn’t actually the case. “It was actually an ammo carrying tactical vest,” she said. Read the full story at

Valley demonstrators protest George Floyd death

Protests surrounding the death of George Floyd and police brutality spread to the Rio Grande Valley on Saturday as well over 100 people gathered in front of city hall along University Drive here to voice their displeasure with law enforcement’s treatment of minorities nationwide and call for change. Floyd’s death after a Minneapolis police officer knelt on his neck during an arrest has sparked protests and riots nationwide. Protestors bore banners and signs calling for law enforcement reform and voicing solidarity with Floyd and other high-profile deaths of minority individuals in police custody. Read the full story at

McAllen to launch small bizgrant fund

On Monday, two programs designed to allocate $1 million to small businesses here will begin accepting applications online. The small business grant program will award $300,000 of the fund to businesses in the form of $5,000 or $10,000 grants while the zero interest loan program will allocate the remaining $700,000. Mayor Jim Darling says the funds for the program are coming from the city. The chamber will manage the grant program and nonprofit community lender LiftFund, which the city has partnered with previously, will award funds through the zero interest loan program. Read the full story at

Local graduates look past pandemic toward brighter days

Desteny Duran, the 2020 valedictorian of Thomas Jefferson T-STEM Early College High School, didn’t mention the COVID-19 pandemic once in her commencement address at the Pharr-San Juan-Alamo ISD stadium here Friday evening. She talked about her friends and her family. She talked about her hopes for herself and her classmates. She talked about the future, and about a bright tomorrow. Duran wasted no words on the COVID-19 pandemic and she didn’t need to. The pandemic spoke for itself, through the hundreds of facemasks in the crowd, the conspicuous lack of chairs and the smell of hand sanitizer. Read the full story at