DPS Trooper Sanchez dies after surgery

Texas Department of Public Safety Trooper Moises Sanchez has died following complications from surgery this week stemming from gunshot wounds he sustained in April. State Sen. Juan "Chuy" Hinojosa, D-McAllen, confirmed his passing on Facebook Saturday afternoon. "Today our thoughts and prayers are with the family of Trooper Sanchez who has made the ultimate sacrifice for our families. I also appreciate the healthcare teams that cared for Trooper Sanchez while he fought bravely and courageously these past four months. May he Rest in Peace and be in Heaven. Semper Fi to a former Marine," Hinojosa said. Read the full story at themonitor.com.

AgriLife panelists explore agriculture-health connection

Connecting agriculture and health, making the state a model for the agriculture industry to follow and making the field more appealing to future generations, were among the major ideas during a panel between three key figures on Thursday evening at the Texas A&M Higher Education Center here. This is also a part of the Advancing Texas Roadshow, with Texas A&M AgriLife visiting different venues across the state. The event brought three panelists, state Sen. Juan “Chuy” Hinojosa, D-McAllen, Texas A&M University System Chancellor John Sharp and Patrick Stover, vice chancellor and dean for Agriculture and Life Sciences at Texas A&M AgriLife. Susan Ballabina, deputy vice chancellor, Texas A&M AgriLife, College Station, acted as the moderator for the panel. Read the full story at themonitor.com.

School districts’ financial ratings show drastic changes

School districts across the Rio Grande Valley either saw significant progress, regression or simply maintained their financial rating in the Financial Integrity Rating System of Texas, a state program that holds school districts accountable for their money management practices. The Texas Education Agency released the preliminary results for the schools districts in August. The FIRST ratings are based on the previous year’s data. For instance, the 2018-19 results are based on data from the 2017-18 school year. Across the Valley, school districts saw increases or drops in ratings. Read the full story at themonitor.com

Meet the mascot: UTRGV Vaquero introduced at freshmen event

A crowd of freshmen students of various majors filled the bleachers and the center of the Fieldhouse for the live mascot reveal of the UTRGV Vaquero at the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley in Edinburg on Friday afternoon. This was the second of live mascot reveal showing for the Vaquero Roundup, with the first in Brownsville on Wednesday. UTRGV welcomed over 4,500 freshmen total to college life, with an official live mascot in a tangible costume showing off the design to the students, first in Brownsville and then at Edinburg campus. The UTRGV Vaquero dons a scarf, hat, vest and boots while sporting university colors of orange, white and gray. Named for the Spanish word for cowboy, it is an embodiment of the cultural and historical aspects of the university and student population. UTRGV officials and students cheered the mascot as it made its way to the stage with cheerleaders performing flips, a pep band and confetti heightening the reveal. Read the full story at themonitor.com.

New details emerge in Progreso jail escape

Newly released law enforcement records detail exactly how a sexual assault suspect held in Progreso police custody escaped earlier this month. Adrian Edwardo Garcia, 26, was taken into custody Aug. 5 when he arrived at the Progreso Police Department to claim a lost wallet, which investigators believe he dropped at the scene of the alleged sexual assault. Garcia was read his Miranda rights and booked into jail, where he was the only prisoner held at the time, according to a probable cause affidavit obtained this week. Read the full story on themonitor.com.

13 indicted in Edinburg illegal voting investigation

A Hidalgo County grand jury on Thursday returned 13 new indictments tied to the illegal voting and election fraud investigation into the 2017 city of Edinburg municipal election, documents show. The indictments are related to an investigation launched in May 2018 probing the results of Edinburg’s November 2017 municipal election. Authorities, working with the Texas Attorney General’s Office and the Hidalgo County District Attorney’s Office, have since made more than 20 arrests in connection with allegations of illegal voting during that election. Read the full story at themonitor.com.

Applications open for migration aid reimbursements

U.S. Rep. Henry Cuellar announced on Friday that applications have opened for governments and non-government organizations to apply for federal reimbursements for migration aid costs incurred during the first six months of this year. The online reimbursement application — conducted through the United Way — will be open until Sept. 6. After that date, no applications will be accepted. United Way boards are expected to determine the legitimacy of the applications from governments like the city of McAllen and NGOs like Catholic Charities of the Rio Grande Valley. Read the full story on themonitor.com.

A United Front: Four counties stand ready to stop drunk drivers

The fifth annual “No Refusal” weekend begins on Thursday, Aug. 29, and runs through Monday, Sept. 2. Officers will not be taking no for an answer when it comes from suspected drunk drivers who refuse a breathalyzer or a blood draw. Law enforcement will get a warrant. “We’re in this fight together because it does matter what our communities do,” said Hidalgo County District Attorney Ricardo Rodriguez Jr. “It does matter what our citizens do.” And this year, in a first, Starr, Hidalgo, Cameron and Willacy counties will all be participating to create what Willacy County District Attorney Annette C. Hinojosa calls a “four-county stronghold.” Read the full story on themonitor.com.

As some in South Texas make aggressive drainage improvements, Pharr takes different approach

Following significant rain storms in recent years that led to thousands of damaged homes and businesses, some in South Texas have made aggressive moves to alleviate flooding and improve drainage. The city of Weslaco this year asked its voters to pass a $10 million bond, and it was approved. Last year, following the June 2018 storms, Hidalgo County asked voters for $190 million for drainage, and the measure was overwhelmingly approved. Just before the storms, McAllen voters in May 2018 approved a $22 million bond for drainage improvements. On Monday, Pharr took a different approach. There was an agenda item for commissioners to vote on whether to hold a bond election for drainage improvements in November. City Manager Alex Meade and city staff had recommended approval for a bond “designating, acquiring, constructing, renovating, improving, upgrading, updating, and equipping drainage and flood control improvements and facilities at various locations within the City of Pharr.” Read the full story at themonitor.com.

Wounded trooper continues recovery, his suspected shooter appears in court

Just hours before Texas Department of Public Safety Trooper Moises Sanchez underwent surgery early Thursday afternoon, his accused attacker appeared in court for a routine pre-trial hearing. DPS in a Facebook post said that Yvonne Sanchez, the injured trooper’s wife, said her husband was scheduled for surgery to replace his bone flap with a reconstructed titanium mesh one. Moises Sanchez has been undergoing treatment since April 6, when authorities say 24-year-old Victor Alejandro Godinez shot the trooper once in the head and once in the shoulder with what police believe is a .357 revolver they recovered near east Mon Mack Road and State Highway 107. His next pre-trial hearing is scheduled for Oct. 24. Godinez has entered not guilty pleas to three counts of attempted capital murder of a peace officer. Read the full story on themonitor.com.