Private border wall construction continues despite federal TRO

Workers wear safety vests as they dig from inside a trench; dirt is dug and moved onto loaders and backhoes, while several metal rebar piles are visible around a construction site. A border wall is up, but it’s unclear if it’s officially on the ground since the structures are supported by several backhoes spaced a few feet apart and the bollards are going the wrong direction. Regardless, border wall construction continues south of Mission despite temporary restraining orders granted in both state district and federal court. Read the full story at themonitor.com

Sentencing hearing for Houston woman accused of smuggling heroin reset

A Houston woman who was set to be sentenced last week will have to wait at least another month, records show.  Last week, U.S. District Judge Randy Crane granted a motion for continuance for the sentencing hearing for Denise Esquivel who has pleaded guilty to drug smuggling charges, court notes show.  The continuance, which now sets Esquivel’s sentencing for Jan. 28, 2020, was the latest granted by Crane in the case, as there was a previous reset in August, records show.   Read the full story at themonitor.com.

Police: Woman shot and killed husband during dispute

A woman faces a first degree murder charge after she allegedly shot and killed her husband Sunday evening, Edinburg police said in a news release Monday. Karla Marlen DeLeon is scheduled to be arraigned on one count of murder Tuesday afternoon at the Edinburg Municipal court days after police say she shot and killed Hector Raisel De Leon during a disturbance at a residence in the 700 block of East Russell Road in Edinburg. Police responded to the aforementioned residence at about 6:40 p.m. Sunday. According to the release from Edinburg Police, the disturbance was between Hector De Leon, 48, and his wife, Karla Marlen, 47. Read the full story at themonitor.com.

Feds accuse San Juan cop of assaulting cuffed man in 2015

Another San Juan police officer finds himself facing criminal charges, according to a Southern District of Texas U.S. Attorney’s office release.  According to the release, Juan Pablo Galindo is in federal custody accused of assaulting a man who was in his custody back in December 2015.  Galindo, now a sergeant, acting in his official capacity as an officer with San Juan Police at the time, allegedly violated the civil rights of an unidentified man on Dec. 4, 2015.  “Galindo allegedly physically assaulted the man while he was in custody. According to the charges, the victim had been handcuffed and under police control when Galindo hit him in the groin area with his knee,” the release states.  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.

Shelter announces name change, strides toward no-kill status

The Palm Valley Animal Center announced this week that it’s changing its name to the Palm Valley Animal Society, along with other updates on the nonprofit organization’s efforts to achieve a no-kill shelter designation. Luis Quintanilla, shelter manager, said the organization’s two locations will now be known as PVAS Trenton Center and PVAS LPA Center, which both fall under the umbrella of the Palm Valley Animal Society. According to Quintanilla, the change is being made primarily to end confusion in the public about the organization’s two locations. Read the full story at themonitor.com.

Investigation ongoing in deadly Pharr fire

Fire officials here are investigating a deadly fire that occurred here Saturday morning.  At 7:23 a.m., Pharr firefighters responded to the 800 block of North Tierra Drive, where a fire had been reported. Firefighters were told two men, whose identities are still unavailable, were trapped inside of the home.   Read the full story at themonitor.com

ACLU files lawsuit to stop removals of asylum seekers

Civil rights attorneys filed a lawsuit against the federal government challenging an “expedited removal” pilot program put into place by the Trump administration which strips asylum seekers at certain ports of entry along the U.S-Mexico border of their right to counsel. According to a press release circulated by the American Civil Liberties Union of Texas (ACLU-TX), the coalition filed a lawsuit in the District of Columbia against several government agencies under the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) that handle immigration and asylum cases. Reports indicated that the Trump administration implemented two new, secretive asylum processes on or around Oct. 7 which would expedite applicants’ credible fear interview. Read the full story at themonitor.com

Gladys Porter Zoo introduces brother warthogs

The Gladys Porter Zoo welcomed two new warthogs, brothers Rollo and Leonardo, to the zoo recently from Indianapolis. The brothers, who are currently about one-third of their full-grown size, were transported from Indiana and are quickly settling in to their new habitat, finished days ago. Patrick Burchfield, Gladys Porter Zoo director, explained how the exhibit was set up to accommodate the pigs, which are native to sub-Saharan Africa. Read the full story at themonitor.com

Three UTRGV students design winning holiday cards

Some holiday cards carry a little extra meaning during Christmas. In fact, for designing cards, three University of Texas Rio Grande Valley students in Brownsville won scholarships with cash awards in the 2019 University of Texas Rio Grande Valley President’s Holiday Card Contest. UTRGV President Guy Bailey presented the winners at a reception Thursday afternoon at the Student Union on the Brownsville campus. He delayed the presentation, waiting for UT System Chancellor James B. Milliken to arrive. Read the full story at themonitor.com