Xavier Alvarez

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McAllen commemorates Juneteenth with caravan, Bethel Gardens renovation announcement

Mayor Jim Darling made a video announcement during the city’s Juneteenth observation on Friday that it will commit funds to renovate the historic Bethel Gardens. Following Darling’s Juneteenth proclamation delivered during a live-stream, a city of McAllen video was shown making the announcement to a standing ovation from participants. According to Darling, $9,000 from the mayor’s State of the City fund will go toward the endeavor. Read the full story at themonitor.com

Weslaco police apprehend murder suspect in shooting case

A man Weslaco police say is a suspect in a murder investigation was arrested Monday following a shooting that left one person dead and put a local school on lockdown. Although police have not yet confirmed the identity of the person arrested, they did identify Angel Herrera, 23, earlier Monday as the suspect in the case. The arrest came after a manhunt for Herrera, who was considered armed and dangerous, lasted for several hours. According to officer Eric Hernandez, spokesman for the Weslaco Police Department, officers initially responded to a call reporting shots fired in the vicinity of the 2400 block of 12th Street and Pleasantview Drive at around 12:06 p.m. Monday. Read the full story at themonitor.com.

McAllen aiming for drive-in experience for July 4th fireworks show

The city of McAllen will be continuing its tradition of holding a fireworks display for their Fourth of July celebration amidst the COVID-19 pandemic. This year’s celebration will be different than years past, in that specific social distancing protocols and procedures will be implemented in order to protect attendees during the event. Xochitl Mora, communications director for the city, said that the event will be restricted to a certain degree. Read the full story at themonitor.com

With nowhere to play, Valley artists adapt to reach audiences

For generations the Rio Grande Valley has been home to many local, talented musicians who strive for success through playing gigs, selling merchandise and touring. As a result, the Valley has produced musical greats such as Baldemar Huerta, aka Freddy Fender and Narciso Martinez. But with the COVID-19 pandemic in full effect, the means of which these artists could continue succeeding seem to have been completely closed off, like the venues where they once performed. Fortunately, some of the local talents have been looking into online methods of performing for fans by playing live on Facebook or having practice sessions with band members on JamKazam, a music website that allows you to play music in real time with other musicians from home. One such performer is Lauren Corzine from McAllen. Read the full story at themonitor.com.

EDITORIAL: Renewal

Today is Easter in the Christian world, but the faithful this year are unable to gather together to celebrate one of the religion’s holiest...

As ‘American Dirt’ debate rages, UTRGV tackles discussion

The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley’s Center for Mexican American Studies held a roundtable discussion Friday in response to ongoing controversy over “American Dirt.” Published in January, the book describes the trauma of a Mexican mother and her child fleeing a drug cartel and their journey to the United States. The novel, written by Jeanine Cummins, has received criticism from pundits claiming the book reinforces negative Mexican stereotypes and shows a lack of research. Read the full story at themonitor.com

McAllen honors three legendary businesswomen at luncheon

People who know her are well aware that Dora Jean Sanchez doesn’t doubt herself. Sanchez, of De Sanchez Day Spa & Salon, explained as much Thursday during the All About Women Committee’s Legendary Businesswomen Luncheon at the Radisson Hotel in McAllen, where the McAllen Chamber of Commerce gave voice to three businesswomen and their journey toward becoming industry leaders in their communities. Her quick-witted response received a roar of laughter and applause which set the tone for the event. Read the full story at themonitor.com.

Public input encouraged for new Mission, McAllen development

A development company on Wednesday continued its efforts to gather public input on a residential and commercial development encompassing more than 3,000 acres between Mission and McAllen, inviting local residents to design this community themselves. Killam Development, a Laredo-based company with a history of real estate development and ranching, announced in December that it acquired about 3,400 acres in the two cities from previous owners, Hunt Valley Development. The company has held two workshops this week with city leaders and the public in order to gain input and design ideas on how to create a new community. Read the full story at themonitor.com

Organ donors’ families mark Christmas season with memories of their loved ones

A single Christmas tree, lightly decorated with white and silver ornaments, wrapped with light blue ribbons and white Christmas lights, topped with a glittery silver star stood in the middle of a bustling La Plaza Mall. Surrounding the tree were the families of recently deceased organ donors, who were creating custom-made ornaments to honor their lost loved ones. The children and toddlers, some of who were offspring of the deceased, were having a blast filling the ornaments with artificial snowflakes and decorating the outside of the crystal clear orbs. All the while, the parents, grandparents and event runners helped them out as they mingled over coffee and chocolate chip cookies provided by Donate Life Texas. The celebration is part of a partnership with Simon Malls and Donate Life Texas. La Plaza Mall welcomed the organization in their mission to have more people register as organ donors in order to save lives in the future. Read the full story at themonitor.com

Illnesses mounting and finances dwindling, Starr County family makes most of modest home

Jorge Espinoza and his family of six live in a small, downtrodden trailer home owned by his mother in the outskirts of a Starr County community. Parts of the walls are missing insulation and drywall. Next to the entrance is a child-sized mattress embedded in the wall, acting as a replacement for the missing insulation. The interior is dark with few small streaks of light pouring from the makeshift curtains draped over the windows. The only source of light was a bulb in the kitchen that is connected to the living room. Both areas take up about two thirds of the entire home. The only bedroom in the house is on the far end left, opposite of the living room. When asked where her kids sleep, Dinorah, Jorge’s wife, simply pointed to the couch she was sitting on. Read the full story at themonitor.com.