Rick Kelley

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Fedex moves to expand as airport fixes old concrete

While Valley International Airport is ripping up and replacing some more World War II-era pavement, FedEx Corp. will take advantage of the construction to expand the company’s cargo facility. Call it a package deal. In 2011, Fedex spent about $1.2 million to beef up operations at its airport sorting facility, and already the company needs more space as more freight is being routed through the airport. Read the full story at themonitor.com.

Valley cities post strong sales tax numbers for October

The city of Harlingen’s lackluster numbers in sales tax reimbursements this year continued to sag in October, the only major city in Cameron County to post negative numbers in an otherwise strong Rio Grande Valley showing. Harlingen showed a drop of 2.75% for the month, but remained in positive numbers for the year at plus 1.27%. Elsewhere double-digit increases in October over the previous year were reported by Rio Hondo (up 26.75%), South Padre Island (up 24.44%), Los Fresnos (up 22.88%), San Benito (up 28.83%), La Feria (up 16.45%), Port Isabel (up 15.89%) and Brownsville (up 6.42%). Read the full story at themonitor.com

Harlingen airport makes jet bridge upgrades

Valley International Airport is currently installing the sixth passenger boarding bridge at Gate 1, an $800,000 addition which will ease crowding as airlines jostle for a position to load and unload passengers. Passenger boarding bridges, or jet bridges, are the fixed rectangular tunnels which allow airline passengers and crew to board and disembark from planes once they taxi up to the terminal. “What this gate does is allows for the growth of the airport, and our enplanement numbers over the last couple of years have seen a double-digit increase,” Bryan Wren, assistant director of aviation at VIA, said. Read the full story at themonitor.com

Valley jobless rates hold steady at 5-6 percent

The Brownsville-Harlingen jobless rate held steady for October at a low 5.2 percent, the same as the previous month. In the McAllen-Edinburg-Mission Metropolitan Statistical Area, the jobless rate dropped from 5.8 percent to 5.6 percent for October. The unemployment rate in both Valley areas was basically unchanged from a year ago. Statewide the jobless rate held steady at 3.4 percent in October, marking the fifth straight month of record low unemployment which began in June. It continues the state’s lowest unemployment rate since tracking these numbers began in 1976. Read the full story at themonitor.com

Some leery about hiking passenger airport-use fee

Legislation in Congress is seeking to raise the price of airline tickets by lifting a ceiling on what is called the passenger facility charge, now capped at $4.50 per ticket per leg of a flight. The fees are useful to airports as quickly accessible funds for improvements, including an airport’s share of matching funds often required to receive Federal Aviation Administration grants for resurfacing runways and other major, multi-million-dollar projects. A bill filed by Rep. Thomas Massie (R-Ky.) would nearly double the amount airports can charge for the PFC to $8.50, although there has been talk during the debate to eliminate the cap altogether, allowing airports to charge what the passenger traffic will bear. Read the full story at themonitor.com.

Census Bureau looks to fill 4,000 Valley jobs in next six weeks

The U.S. Census Bureau is revving up its hiring process in the Rio Grande Valley, hoping to accumulate more than 8,000 applicants to fill more than 4,000 jobs during Census 2020. The official Census 2020 count begins on April 1, but bureau officials need to identify and hire workers prior to training which will occur early next year.  “We’re looking to take 8,391 to be exact,” said Albert Morales, partnership specialist for the Census Bureau in Hidalgo County. “Applications are what we’re taking because we need to hire 4,000 people. Read the full story at themonitor.com.

Boulevard gator: Sunning reptile creates stir at KOA on Island

HARLINGEN — He was just looking for a little hot action. When it’s 53 degrees and you’re cold-blooded, a sunny spot next to Padre Boulevard...

Quail numbers high as season opens today

HARLINGEN — While the number of hunters pursuing quail continues to drop, state biologists say this year wing shooters in the South Texas Plains region who do reach the field will find bobwhites in abundance. Quail season begins today and runs through Feb. 23. “Habitat and weather can cause dramatic shifts in bobwhite and scaled quail populations from one year to the next,” said Robert Perez, quail program leader for the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department. “Although last year’s quail season was not very productive, quail have an uncanny ability to quickly bounce back when conditions are good. Thanks to favorable weather conditions earlier this year, hunters can look forward to productive quail hunting across most of the state this season.” Read more at themonitor.com

Workforce agency re-launches jobs site

As Texas keeps rambling along with its all-time low jobless rate of 3.4 percent, the Texas Workforce Commission has re-launched a website for job seekers and employers trying to navigate the tight jobs market. Texas Workforce Commission members, after touring the state and receiving feedback about the current employment market, decided to bring back the www.WorkInTexas.com website. This week, the site listed more than 800,000 job openings across the state. Job seekers can post resumes, and the site had more than 75,000 active resumes. Read the full story at themonitor.com.

Bealls begins rebranding process as it becomes Gordmans

HARLINGEN — Don’t be fooled by the big “Closing Event” sales posters on your local Bealls department store. The retail chain is merely re-branding its...