Mission firefighter who battled Australian fires honored

For 33 days Rey Navarro battled some of the worst bushfires in Australia’s history, across the globe from his hometown of Mission. Thursday night the city of Mission and the Boys & Girls Club of Mission recognized the firefighter, whose first job was working with the Mission Boys & Girls Club. Navarro, 39, was presented with an award and helped pass out trophies to Boys & Girls Club athletes at the ceremony. Read the full story at themonitor.com.

SPI making preparations for Spring Break

In an effort to provide a safe and secure experience for residents, visitors and Spring Breakers, city officials of this coastal city have made preparations for this annual upcoming vacation period. South Padre Island police and fire department officials discussed their plans for Spring Break Thursday morning during a press conference. SPI Fire Chief Jim Pigg kicked off the press conference with his department’s preparations. Read the full story at themonitor.com.

Inside Texas’ last Kmart

The last Kmart in Texas stands in South McAllen, on the corner of 10th and the expressway, just across the parking lot from Furr’s Fresh Buffet. It won’t be there for long though; Transformco, the company that bought out Kmart and Sears in a bankruptcy sale last year, announced the McAllen store would be closing earlier this month. In its prime, the hundred-plus-year-old retailer operated thousands of stores across the world. By summer, the number of Kmarts left will be winnowed down to a few dozen. Read the full story at themonitor.com

Winter visitors in Weslaco reflect on 75 years of marriage

Read the full story https://www.themonitor.com/2020/02/13/winter-visitors-weslaco-reflect-75-years-marriage/

Blood on Board: Local air ambulance services now outfitted with O+

Read the full story  https://www.themonitor.com/2020/02/13/local-air-ambulance-services-now-outfitted-o/

2019 RGV Citizens of the Year: Valley MPO officials

Many cities and towns comprise the Rio Grande Valley, yet it generally is regarded as a single entity, with common characteristics, goals and problems. Its residents can be seen as one big family. Like any family, the relationships among the member cities and counties are complicated. Despite their commonality they sometimes come at odds, competing for key businesses and other features that can boost the economy not only of the Valley as a whole, but also of the host city. Clashes over the placement of institutions such as the medical school or funding allocations have even raised consternation from state officials who said no allocations would be considered until local officials stopped bickering and presented a single regional request. Sometimes, however, sensible, regional thinking develops on its own, and that happened in a big way when the Valley’s three metropolitan planning organizations, which plan transportation projects for the areas they cover, agreed to merge into one regional body. Read the full story at themonitor.com

UTRGV inducts latest class into Hall of Fame

The University of Texas-Rio Grande Valley Athletics Hall of Fame ushered in its 2020 Class Saturday morning, welcoming six new members and one team for their athletic achievements and contributions to Pan American University, University of Texas Pan American, and now UTRGV. “We have a rich tradition and we’re celebrating that here today. I understand that our name has changed over the years, but our legacy and our commitment to our tradition is unwavering,” UTRGV Athletic Director Chasse Conque said. “It’s my promise that we’ll never forget where we’ve come from, those that have come before us, those that have changed the lives of young people, those that have given so much back to this university, and those that have done so much to bring great recognition and pride to this institution and the Rio Grande Valley.” The team inducted into the 2020 UTRGV Athletics Hall of Fame was the 1989 Women’s Tennis Team. The 1989 Women’s Tennis Team won the American South Conference Championship, the first in program history, which was the only one until UTRGV won the Western Athletic Conference title in 2016. As a team, the Broncs went 11-6 overall and 3-0 in conference play. The team included Kim Butler, Barbara Gonzales, Leah Hampton, Gail Illingworth, Mary Jane Hetrick, Christiane Reetz, and Tania Webster. They were led by head coach David Cross and assistant Zia Kahn. Read the full story at themonitor.com

Rep. Gonzalez issues statement on first virus case confirmed in Texas

U.S. officials have confirmed that an evacuee from China who had been under quarantine in San Antonio has the coronavirus. The patient, who arrived at Lackland Air Force Base last week, is the 15th confirmed case in the United States and the first in Texas. Read the full story at themonitor.com.

Exotic bird of Texas beaches slowly fading away

The surf-side portrait is immediately recognizable. Black above, white below, and if the bird is in the air, chances are its severely overshot lower jaw is ripping through the water as it buzzes low over the Laguna Madre, snapping up fish without breaking glide. The black skimmer is one of three skimmer species worldwide but is the only one found in Texas and the United States. Read the full story at themonitor.com.