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 TheMonitor.com.

Man arrested for sexual assault, escapes custody

A man under arrest for sexual assault escaped from police custody in Progreso and fled to Mexico earlier this month. Adrian Edwardo Garcia, 26, is charged with one count of sexual assault, a second degree felony, and one count of escape from custody in connection with an incident that began on Aug. 3. According to a criminal complaint, Progreso police received a call just before 6:30 a.m. Aug. 3 from a woman who wanted to report that her friend had been sexually assaulted at her home. 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.

Edinburg man sentenced for 2015 double homicide

A 26-year-old man received a 45-year prison sentence Tuesday morning for his role in a drug deal that ended with the death of two men found dead in a burning car along a canal near Delta Lake in May 2015. Edwin Adrian Salinas, of Edinburg, said nothing as state District Judge Marla Cuellar accepted his guilty plea to two counts of murder and handed down the near five-decade sentence. The state agreed to dismiss one charge of capital murder in exchange for the guilty pleas. Salinas had initially been charged with three counts of capital murder. Salinas admitted to participating in the May 1, 2015, murder of Jose Luis Salinas Torres, 23, and Lazaro Alejandro Martinez Esparza, 26, who had both been shot in the back. Read the full story at themonitor.com.

TxDOT showers Valley with $1.1 billion windfall

If the merger of the Rio Grande Valley’s three metropolitan planning organizations was a roll of the dice, the region just raked in the pot. TxDOT Transportation Commission members in Austin have made their decision on highway funding for the next decade, and Hidalgo and Cameron counties will receive $1.1 billion in a massive infusion of highway funds which will transform mobility in the Rio Grande Valley. The Unified Transportation Plan, or UTP, passed last week allocates $77 billion to highway improvements across the state of Texas, and includes approximately $368 million for Cameron County and $750 million for Hidalgo County. Read the full article at themonitor.com.

Double homicide trial postponed for more tests

A 25-year-old Mission man’s jury trial on accusations he shot two women to death during a drug deal gone wrong days before Christmas in 2015 is on hold after a judge learned an officer involved in the double homicide investigation may have had a relationship with one of the victims. Guadalupe Garcia Vela appeared in court Thursday afternoon with defense attorneys Nereyda Morales-Martinez and Regina “Regi” Richardson who requested that the Hidalgo County District Attorney’s Office explore whether the Palmview Police Department has a policy that would allow prosecutors to conduct ballistic testing on the officer’s service weapon. Authorities never found the weapon police say Vela used to gun down Yvette Garza and Natalie Hernandez on Dec. 20, 2015, the Thursday hearing revealed. He has been in jail since his arrest in January 2016, and has pleaded not guilty to capital murder charges. Read the full story at themonitor.com.

Suspect in shooting has lengthy criminal record

EDINBURG — A 37-year-old man with a criminal history that spans two decades in Hidalgo County will face a minimum of 25 years in prison if convicted in a shooting case related to a failed plot to abduct undocumented immigrants. On Thursday morning, Jesus Javier Solis pleaded not guilty to charges of attempted capital murder, aggravated assault with a deadly weapon, deadly conduct and engaging in organized criminal activity. Solis is charged with six others in the case following a May 31 shooting that left a man with non-life threatening injuries to his right arm and the left side of his face. Read more at the monitor.com.

Author presents book on Alton bus crash as part of museums’s speaker series

Nearly three decades since the Alton school bus crash, a local teacher and author looks back on its impact on school bus safety and the fallout following the tragedy. In 1989, a Dr. Pepper truck collided with Mission School bus no. 6 at 7:34 a.m., propelling it into a caliche pit filled with water. About 80 middle school and high school students inside the bus struggled to open the windows as the murky water quickly filled the bus. Twenty-one students drowned that morning. Donna High School social studies teacher Juan Carmona presented findings for his book, “The Alton Bus Crash,” to a room full of students, community members and history enthusiasts at the Museum of South Texas History Sunday afternoon. The tragedy led to a change in policy, and the ensuing lawsuits changed the economic status of the survivors and those affected by the tragedy. Read the full story at themonitor.com.

Alton to maintain same tax rate

ALTON — Residents likely won’t see an increase in property taxes next year as the city commissioners voted in favor of a proposal to...

Team USA Olympian christens McAllen’s new softball complex

Ushered in by an Olympian, the completely renovated softball complex next to McAllen High School opened Monday with six fields, new restrooms, concessions and scoreboards. “Being a young female athlete and having the opportunity to play on a team, to develop life skills, to develop teamwork, confidence — these types of things are so valuable in young women,” said Monica Abbott, who has pitched for Team USA and was a member of the silver medalist team in the 2008 Olympics. Abbott was on hand Monday to throw the first pitch at the new complex. Also in attendance was Mayor Jim Darling and City Commissioners Victor “Seby” Haddad and Omar Quintanilla. This complex received the last of the bond money from a $15 million proposition that McAllen voters approved in 2013. Read the full story at themonitor.com.