Rick Kelley


Harlingen church offers drive-in service for Palm Sunday

Where there’s faith, there’s a way. The Rev. Charlie Palmer, pastor of Treasure Hills Presbyterian Church, on Sunday found that if you hold it they will come. Social distancing doesn’t mean church services need to be suspended, as long as you have a creative streak and a parking lot. Read the full story at themonitor.com

UTRGV outlines process for virus analysis

It’s one test you really hope you’ll pass. As confirmed coronavirus cases continue trending upward here in the Rio Grande Valley, two new drive-thru testing sites have been established on the Edinburg and Brownsville campuses of UTRGV. The tests are free to UTRGV students, staff and the general public for individuals with a fever over 100.4 degrees and COVID-19 respiratory symptoms. All prospective patients must first undergo a telephone interview to confirm they have the right symptoms of the virus. Read the full story at themonitor.com

County confirms 3 COVID-19 cases linked to Harlingen nursing facility

The first confirmed cases of COVID-19 in a Rio Grande Valley nursing facility have been linked to Veranda Rehabilitation and Healthcare in Harlingen by Cameron County Judge Eddie Treviño Jr. Three employees at the facility were confirmed as having contracted coronavirus, Treviño said in his Tuesday afternoon press conference in Brownsville. “All of these individuals are in isolation currently,” the judge said. Read the full story at valleymorningstar.com.

Stay-at-home not pushing up demand on grid

Shelter-at-home restrictions for Rio Grande Valley residents is currently not affecting power companies, although officials say it is likely residential bills may be a little bit higher when they arrive next month. AEP Texas and Magic Valley Electric Cooperative, along with the statewide power grid called ERCOT, are not experiencing any undue demands on the grid, spokespersons said Monday. “As far as I know off the top of my head, no,” said Eladio Jaimez, a spokesperson for AEP Texas. “Nothing’s been out of the ordinary. We haven’t really had any problems or issues when it comes to the grid.” Read the full story at themonitor.com.

New reality hitting truckers hard, but they’re delivering the goods

Suddenly in the United States, we have a new class of hard-working heroes, people who haven’t made any Hollywood movies and have toiled away under the cultural radar. Yet Americans are giving new respect to some far less recognized members of our society who suddenly are in the spotlight: The checkout person at the supermarket, and the stocker refilling empty shelves in a frantic effort to keep up with shopper demand. And then there are the truckers who deliver those goods. Read the full story at themonitor.com

State disaster declaration green-lights small-business loans

HARLINGEN — The economic turmoil caused by the coronavirus has suspended operations of many local small businesses, but avenues of help are emerging. The state-of-disaster declaration by Gov. Greg Abbott last week triggered the federal disaster loan program of the Small Business Administration, and officials are urging Valley business owners to begin the application process. Economic Injury Disaster Loans, known as EIDL, offer up to $2 million per business at an interest rate of 3.75 percent for businesses which are unable to secure credit elsewhere. Businesses with credit available from other lenders are not eligible. Read the full story at themonitor.com

Valley jobless numbers edge up but bigger loss looms

Texas’ seasonally adjusted unemployment rate held steady at 3.5 percent in January as it continues its flirtation with record lows, the Texas Workforce Commission reported. All that may be about to change. The Texas economy added 279,900 seasonally adjusted nonfarm jobs over the year, including 19,500 jobs added over the month for January. Annual employment growth for Texas was 2.2 percent in January, marking 117 consecutive months of annual growth. Read the full story at themonitor.com

Virus status ‘changing daily’

State health officials mostly tilled old ground in a press conference here Wednesday, even as the confirmed number of Texas coronavirus cases rose to 83 with three deaths reported. The Wednesday noon update by the Texas Department of State Health Services showed the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases rising from 64 to 83. The first Texas death was a man in his 90s and a resident of Matagorda County. The second person to die was a 77-year-old man who lived in a retirement center in Arlington. Read the full story at themonitor.com.

State shuts down travel information centers

HARLINGEN — Even travelers are feeling the coronavirus pinch. TxDOT announced Tuesday that a dozen Texas Travel Information Centers would be closed indefinitely, including the...

Rio Hondo shuts down parks, senior center, library

RIO HONDO — Rio Hondo officials on Monday released a list of coronavirus-related changes to how the city operates, including the closure of two...