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 themonitor.com.

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 themonitor.com.

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 themonitor.com.

Dallas-area man gets 5 years in meth smuggling case

A Dallas-area man will serve more than five years in prison for his role in an attempt to get more than 20 kilos of liquid methamphetamine into the United States, court records show. U.S. District Judge Randy Crane sentenced Jonathan Riley Lunsford to serve 63 months in a federal bureau of prisons facility nearly two years after his arrest at a port of entry. Lunsford, 23, of Mesquite, Texas, was facing up to 10 years after he was arrested in October 2017 at the Progreso-Nuevo Progreso International Bridge with nearly 22 kilograms of methamphetamine in his possession. Read the full story at themonitor.com.

Honoring survivors and the fallen

A little after 2 a.m., Ed Cyganiewicz received a knock at his door. It was Sept. 15, 2001, a night Cyganiewicz says he will never forget. “I remember it clearly,” said Cyganiewicz, who was mayor at the time. “I didn’t have a peephole and I could hear the crackling of a police radio.” Upon opening the door, he saw South Padre Island Police Department Sgt. James Woodard who told him the bridge collapsed and there were people in the water. Read the full story at themonitor.com.

McAllen hires new finance director

Sergio Villasana Jr. has been hired as McAllen’s new finance director, according to a city news release issued Wednesday. Villasana has six years of experience in municipal work, serving most recently as the deputy finance director for the city of Harlingen, in addition to experience in finance. Read the full story at themonitor.com.

Success of RGV tire recovery efforts leads to even bigger dreams

The success of the Valley’s three-year “Road to Recycling” tire collection efforts is spurring a more intensive effort to help alleviate one of the environmental plagues of the region. The Lower Rio Grande Valley Development Council is pursuing a study to be performed by UTRGV’s civil engineering department to assess the feasibility of a state-supported tire recycling program on a far larger scale than is currently possible. Read the full story at themonitor.com.

La Villa alderman heads to trial

A La Villa alderman is headed to court Monday to stand trial for allegedly stealing a load of caliche from Hidalgo County in 2016. Jose Lupe Contreras, alderman and former Hidalgo County Precinct 1 employee, stands charged with one count of theft by a public servant, and one count of abuse of official capacity, both Class B misdemeanors. Contreras has opted for a bench trial on the two charges, meaning his fate will be decided by a judge, rather than a jury of his peers. The trial is set to begin at 2 p.m. Monday in County Court at Law No. 5. Read the full story at themonitor.com.

Prosecutors opt against appealing Zamora’s release

The release of Meisy Zamora may just be a matter of time as government prosecutors declined to appeal the decision to release her after all. In an email Friday, Zamora’s defense attorney, Christopher Sully, said the government decided against appealing her release further and is now pending the fulfillment of the preconditions set by the court. Read the full story at themonitor.com.

Edcouch man faces serious federal drug charges

The owner of a Edcouch trucking company faces at least one drug smuggling charge after he was found with more than 115 kilograms of cocaine in his tractor trailer, court records show. Napoleon Posadas is due in a federal courtroom Friday where a U.S. magistrate will decide whether or not to grant him a bond in connection with allegations that he used his trucking company to traffic a large quantity of cocaine from the Rio Grande Valley to destinations up north. Posadas, who was originally arrested in Victoria and made his initial federal court appearance in Corpus Christi, remains in federal custody pending a detention hearing scheduled Friday in McAllen. Read the full story at themonitor.com.