Steve Clark

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Steve Clark is a staff writer with the Brownsville Herald. He can be reached at sclark@brownsvilleherald.com

Cameron County to restrict late night travel beginning Sunday

What Cameron County is now calling a “travel restriction” rather than a curfew is going into effect midnight Sunday. According to the order signed by County Judge Eddie Treviño Jr. during a Friday afternoon press conference, between the hours of midnight and 5 a.m. after the restriction is implemented no travel will be allowed on roads within the county except by those authorized by the emergency management director to assist in protecting the health and safety of the public, law enforcement and other first responders, and anyone traveling to or from work as an essential function of government, school, medical, nursing or business activities. Also exempted are people traveling to pharmacies, hospitals or medical clinics, gas stations for fuel or the store for groceries as long as there is no deviation from the route, Treviño said. Anyone traveling on their own private property will also be exempted. Read the full story at themonitor.com

Local hospitals say they are ready for coronavirus

The director of emergency services for Valley Baptist Medical Center said the hospital is prepared in the event large numbers of people in Cameron...

SPI Spring Break to continue

The city of South Padre Island has decided that Spring Break should go on, even amid a wave of cancellations of major events elsewhere around Texas and the nation due to fears about the spread of the new coronavirus. SPI issued a statement March 10 claiming that city officials had diligently reviewed and evaluated all information regarding risks associated with coronavirus, or COVID-19, and concluded that the event could proceed with minimal risk. Unlike massive public gatherings such as SXSW in Austin that attract large numbers of international visitors, SPI’s Spring Break attracts mainly residents of Texas and other states, according to the city. “Information available indicates that the majority of the coronavirus cases are from people that entered in the U.S. internationally ... and have been appropriately quarantined,” read the statement. Read the full story at themonitor.com

STARGATE incubator schools Mexican entrepreneurs

The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley hosted a delegation of about 40 entrepreneurs from the Mexican Institute of Petroleum, the National Autonomous University...

Port of Brownsville gets new cranes

A couple of giants arrived at the Port of Brownsville last month, and now they’ve been put to work on the docks. The Brownsville Navigation District in June put in an order for two German-built Konecranes Gottwald Model 6 mobile harbor cranes to deal with higher cargo volumes at the port. The 125-metric-ton wheeled behemoths arrived in mid-January aboard a specialized cargo vessel and were put into service about two weeks ago after a period of preparation and testing. On Monday, the two new cranes helped lift massive wind turbine blades from one cargo vessel and 30-ton steel slabs from another vessel. The new diesel-electric cranes, each with 28 wheels, 14 axles and a height of 150 feet when fully extended, service cargo docks No. 15 and 16 along with the port’s older, 100-metric-ton Gottwald crane. Read the full story at themonitor.com

Lower Valley barbecue joint wins prestigious national award

When the James Beard Foundation called Vera’s Backyard Bar-B-Que owner Armando Vera a few weeks ago to tell him he’d won a major award and would be flown to Chicago to accept it, Vera hung up, convinced it was a scam. The woman called back. He hung up again. Named for the man the New York Times dubbed the “Dean of American Cookery” in 1954, the James Beard Foundation resorted to contacting Mayor Trey Mendez, which did the trick. “They sent the mayor an email,” Vera said. “He said this is something big. These guys, they call it the Oscars of the food world.” Read the full story at themonitor.com

LNG signs pipeline agreement

NextDecade Corporation and Enbridge Inc. have signed a “definitive agreement” for Enbridge to buy NextDecade’s Rio Bravo Pipeline Company. Enbridge would acquire 100% of the pipeline company, according to the agreement, though the deal depends on NextDecade reaching a “positive final investment decision” and moving forward with construction of its proposed Rio Grande LNG export terminal at the Port of Brownsville. The Rio Grande LNG (liquefied natural gas) facility is one of three proposed for the port and awaiting final investment decisions. The three companies, which also include Annova LNG and Texas LNG, received permission from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission in November to proceed with the projects. Read the full story at themonitor.com

Port Isabel targets LNG construction, operation

The City of Port Isabel, the mayor of Port Isabel and a city commissioner have filed suit against the Brownsville Navigation District over its lease agreements with three liquefied natural gas companies that want to build LNG export terminals at the Port of Brownsville. Mayor Juan Jose “J.J.” Zamora and Commissioner Martin C. Cantu are listed as plaintiffs in the lawsuit, filed in the 445th state District Court on Jan. 27. The suit requests a preliminary injunction followed by a permanent injunction against construction and operation of LNG plants at the port, alleging that such activity “shall have a detrimental and negative impact upon the environment, including air, soil and water quality” for residents of Port Isabel and wildlife in and around Laguna Atascosa National Wildlife Refuge. Port Isabel City Manager Jared Hockema said the lawsuit is part of the city’s “natural progression” in its years-long opposition to LNG. “At a certain point — when FERC has granted its preliminary approval, there’s permits pending from TCEQ, and we see that the port may then now be in a position to enter into leases with these companies, it becomes ripe then to challenge those leases,” Hockema said Thursday. Read the full story at themonitor.com

SpaceX slates ‘career day’

SpaceX CEO Elon Musk tweeted Feb. 3 that design and production on the Starship V1.0 SN1 is “going max hardcore” at the company’s Boca Chica rocket yard 22 miles east of Brownsville. “It’s awesome! Feels a bit like a Mars simulator,” he tweeted. Read the full story at themonitor.com.

KXIQ 105.1 FM community radio enters a new phase

The man is gone but his playlist lives on, 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and you never know what you’re going to hear next. George Ramirez, longtime president of the Brownsville Society for the Performing Arts, who died Oct. 12, left Brownsville a culturally richer place than he found it. Among the many gifts from the founder of the Brownsville Latin Jazz Festival and driving force behind the Brownsville Performing Arts Academy, posthumously renamed the George A. Ramirez Performing Arts Academy, is KXIQ-LP 105.1 FM. The nonprofit station began broadcasting July 12, 2017, from the Lone Star National Bank on Boca Chica Boulevard. “LP” stands for “low power.” Ramirez submitted an application to the Federal Communications Commission to create the station after the Local Community Radio Act was signed into law by Barack Obama in 2011, freeing up the airwaves to small-time operators by repealing restrictions on the lower FM spectrum Congress had enacted 10 years earlier under pressure from commercial broadcasters. Read the full story at themonitor.com