New law adds to hunters’ convenience as dove season opens in RGV

Fields and pastures across the Rio Grande Valley echoed with the reports of hundreds of shotguns Saturday as hunters across South Texas looked to the sky, hoping to harvest their limit of birds on the opening day of regular dove season. Richard Kotzur, one of those hunters, and his German shorthaired pointer, Hoss, set up on a field of sesame stubble just south of McCook late Saturday afternoon, arriving just before the dove did. Kotzur, shotgun in hand, squinted at the horizon while Hoss impatiently sat in his shadow, whining and growling frustratedly. Occasionally, Hoss would dart out of the shade and start bounding about the field, prompting Kotzur to admonish him for wearing himself out before the shooting started. Clearly, Hoss was ready to start hunting. Read the full story at

Auditions for film set in RGV draw local aspiring actors

The whir of fans did little to drown out the constant murmur in the lobby as aspiring actors waited for their opportunity to audition for one of three film roles on Saturday afternoon. The noise was an absolute contradiction to the silence inside the auditorium of Roberto Gomez Jr. Performing Arts Center at PSJA Memorial Early College High School. A voice echoed off the walls of the auditorium as Torben Bech sat beside a camera aimed at the stage, where a young boy pretended to play catch with a roll of tape. The auditions are part of writer and director Bech’s upcoming film, “The Promise,” which is set along the border in South Texas. Read the full story at

Federal defender files claims on behalf of Rubio

An attorney representing convicted child killer John Allen Rubio wants the conviction tossed, claiming Rubio’s appointed defense did not represent him properly and that his case was handled by a district attorney that was steeped in scandal and misconduct. Jeremy Schepers, supervisor of the Capital Habeas Unit and federal public defender, filed a petition for writ of habeas corpus this month in the U.S. federal court in the Southern District of Texas, “declaring unconstitutional and invalid his (Rubio’s) conviction for capital murder as well as the resulting death sentence.” Read the full story at

Walmart to expand grocery home delivery nationwide

When it comes to buying groceries, it looks like the rest of the country is finally catching up to the Rio Grande Valley. Walmart this week announced plans to expand its pilot program, Delivery Unlimited, from four test markets — Miami, Salt Lake City, Tampa and Houston, including several stores in the Valley — to 1,400 additional stores this fall. Read the full story at

Thousands mourn: Family, law enforcement say goodbye to fallen DPS trooper

A murmur echoed through Bert Ogden Arena in Edinburg on Friday as Texas Department of Public Safety troopers slowly filed into the venue, forming a sea of Texas tan Stetson hats. As more law enforcement officers found their seats, everyone was soon called to attention. A solemn silence fell upon the arena as troopers, together with law enforcement from across the country, stood to honor one of their own: Trooper Moises Sanchez. The salute came as the Texas DPS Honor Guard slowly carried Sanchez’s casket, draped with the Texas flag, into the arena. This was but the beginning of the nearly two-and-a-half-hour-long funeral service for the fallen trooper, who died on Aug. 24 after undergoing surgery related to gunshot wounds he received in the line of duty in April. Read the full story on

Teen faces capital murder charge in stabbing death at Donna eatery

A former Donna High School freshman accused of stabbing and killing a man during a robbery at a restaurant he frequented was booked into jail last week on charges of capital murder. Donna resident Pedro Gaspar Rocha, now 17, faces capital murder charges on accusations he broke into Pollos y Costillas Asadas Estilo Veracruz, located in a rural area of Donna, at 3:45 a.m. on Jan. 12 and stabbed 69-year-old Arturo Hermes Hernandez to death and injured an unidentified 21-year-old, leaving the man in critical condition. Both victims worked at the restaurant. The incident occurred a week before Rocha turned 17 years old. Read the full story at

STC gets $1.9M grant for migrants

South Texas College received $1.9 million from the U.S. Department of Education through the High School Equivalency Program grant. The grant funds a five-year project to assist about 500 migrant and seasonal farmworkers. This group, along with their eligible family members can earn the equivalent of a secondary school diploma and receive postsecondary education or training. The project aims to increase access to education for GED programs, industry-recognized certifications, career pathway training and certificates or degrees.  In the first year of the grant, STC will receive about $370,000. The amount will increase slightly each year, until it’s last year, when the college is slated to receive $394,000. Read the full story at

As new laws go into effect Sept. 1, McAllen tussles with new public comment...

As bills passed by lawmakers in the recent state legislative session go into effect beginning Sept. 1, officials here are bracing for the implementation of a new public comment law that they worry could affect efficiency at city commission meetings. The new law allows for the opportunity for the public to comment at public city meetings across the state on any agenda item before the elected officials take said item up for a vote. Typical city commission meetings in McAllen have more than 45 agenda items. “It could certainly turn into a problematic situation,” said City Attorney Kevin Pagan, who said meetings could potentially last significantly longer on the second and fourth Mondays of every month. Read the full story on

The 85: PVAC overcoming many obstacles to improve live-release rates

Marshall’s intake paperwork identified him as a Shepherd mix, but one wouldn’t know by looking at him. Dry cracked skin covered his head and frail, skinny body. Ribs protruded from his emaciated torso. “Smells like mange,” said an intake staff member on June 5. His dark, hairless tail swung behind the two-year-old dog who walked on a leash like he’d done it before. Despite his poor condition and “severe skin infection” staff noted, Marshall was friendly and cooperative during the process. Read the full story on

Trooper Sanchez to return home Saturday; funeral arrangements next week

Texas Department of Public Safety Trooper Moises Sanchez will be laid to rest next Friday. Sanchez died Aug. 24 after undergoing surgery. He was 49. DPS announced that it will receive Trooper Moises Sanchez’s body Saturday at South Texas International Airport in Edinburg. Read the full story on