UTRGV Opera Theater to present ‘Carmen’ online

The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley has launched Patron of the Arts Online, a free online concert series to lift spirits during the COVID-19 emergency. On April 23-24 the series will feature UTRGV Opera Theater in one of the greatest operas of all time, “Carmen,” in Spanish. The production features music and spoken dialogue in Spanish, translation by Eduardo de Bray, said Dahlia Guerra, UTRGV assistant vice president for public art. “During these difficult times, we turn to music to bring comfort to our students, friends and patrons. Our Patron of the Arts Online series will share the musical talents of our School of Music faculty and students with a variety of wonderful concerts that everyone can enjoy in the comfort of their homes,” Guerra said. Read the full story at themonitor.com

Scars, needs run deep for Mission family of mother, son who died in fire

It has been more than a year since Leticia Lopez took in her niece and two nephews after they lost their mother and youngest brother in a house fire. On July 22, 2018, Maria Izabel Maldonado, her 5-year-old son, Gustavo Maldonado, and Johnathan Palomarez, a 15-year-old family friend, died in the Mission fire. Johnathan was the boyfriend of Leticia’s 16-year-old niece, and Gustavo was one of two twin brothers, and would be 7 years old today. Read the full story at themonitor.com.

Bid begins to halt reconstruction of historic Roosevelt Elementary

A preservation group on Monday began efforts to save the historic Theodore Roosevelt Elementary School in McAllen, and city commissioners handed them a temporary victory at Monday’s city commission meeting. But Bert Guerra of the historic Cine El Rey was not totally pleased. A vote still looms at the next city commission meeting on Feb. 24, where McAllen commissioners will vote to decide whether to save the school site. On Monday, commissioners decided to support four of five proposed tax credits for Low-Income Housing Tax Credit developments in the city, with a deadline looming in February for developers to submit applications for the federal funding. The one commissioners decided not to support on Monday was the historic site. Read the full story at themonitor.com

Lopez sworn into Agua SUD board

Franco Lopez of Mission was sworn into the Agua Special Utility District by state Sen. Juan “Chuy” Hinojosa on Monday evening, replacing former District 3 Director Roger Hernandez, who resigned after being elected to the La Joya City Council. Lopez, 35, works in the La Joya ISD transportation department as a computer technician. “I’m just here for the people and hopefully do things right for them,” Lopez said Monday after being sworn in. Read the full story at themonitor.com

Groceries to be distributed in Pharr

The city of Pharr, in partnership with Hispanic Star and Love Soldiers, will be distributing 1,000 baskets of groceries to local families on Friday. The basket distribution is part of the campaign, One United RGV, and will take place at two locations in North and South Pharr from 4 to 6 p.m. "Many families in our communities across the Rio Grande Valley are struggling during this COVID-19 pandemic and we hope to be able to provide groceries to those most in need in Pharr," Mayor Ambrosio Hernandez said in a news release. "The city of Pharr is proud to have matched the 500 grocery basket donation, allowing us to distribute a total of 1,000 baskets to our residents which will feed about 4,000 people. We have partnered with over 18 cities in Hidalgo County during this campaign to provide groceries to families all over the county in a ten-day period." Read the full story at themonitor.com

Valley physicians stress need for protective equipment in petition

A group of Rio Grande Valley physicians is organizing to help combat the spread of COVID-19, and they’re urging the public’s help to accomplish it. Rio Grande Valley COVID-19 Physicians Task Force, which was established a week ago, is a group of roughly 300 medical workers in the region who are actively trying to prevent the spread of the coronavirus locally. “We felt like we needed to unite and have a local network of people keeping track of what’s going on so we can all be on the same page, as far as prevention,” said April E. López, CEO of López Family & Wound Healing Clinic in McAllen and a member of the group. “The Rio Grande Valley is not a hotspot yet. We’re trying to prevent it from becoming one.” Read the full story at themonitor.com.

County looks to boost enforcement of stay-home orders

Hidalgo County officials are scrambling to find ways to keep residents at home as they warn of a possible onslaught of COVID-19 cases. Hidalgo County Judge Richard F. Cortez said he is concerned not enough people are following a shelter-at-home order he issued last week to combat the pandemic. “We know there is a tsunami coming,” Cortez said in a news release Tuesday. “It hasn’t hit us yet. If there is anything we can do to mitigate this, it is stronger enforcement on the orders.” Read the full story at themonitor.com.

Deliberations in healthcare fraud case to resume Wednesday

The jury will continue their deliberations Wednesday in the trial for Dr. Jorge Zamora Quezada, the Edinburg-based rheumatologist accused of healthcare fraud. Jurors deliberated for about seven hours Tuesday before requesting to break for the day due to one of the jurors having to attend a class Tuesday evening. U.S. District Judge Ricardo H. Hinojosa excused the jury for the day but instructed them to resume deliberations at 8:30 a.m. Wednesday. Read the full story at themonitor.com

Cities pave the way for non-essential retailers to reopen

Texas is ready to get back to business and Hidalgo County cities are following suit. Following guidance from Governor Greg Abbott, non-essential businesses will begin opening across the state Friday on a curbside basis with social distancing and hygiene measures in place to curb the spread of COVID-19. Several Hidalgo County cities have issued guidelines about how businesses should reopen and what standards they’ll be required to meet to operate. Although the specifics vary from city to city, many of the guidelines are consistent with anti-coronavirus precautions currently being taken at essential businesses that never ceased operating. Read the full story at themonitor.com.

LNG signs pipeline agreement

NextDecade Corporation and Enbridge Inc. have signed a “definitive agreement” for Enbridge to buy NextDecade’s Rio Bravo Pipeline Company. Enbridge would acquire 100% of the pipeline company, according to the agreement, though the deal depends on NextDecade reaching a “positive final investment decision” and moving forward with construction of its proposed Rio Grande LNG export terminal at the Port of Brownsville. The Rio Grande LNG (liquefied natural gas) facility is one of three proposed for the port and awaiting final investment decisions. The three companies, which also include Annova LNG and Texas LNG, received permission from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission in November to proceed with the projects. Read the full story at themonitor.com