Former PSJA runner sets sights on qualifying for Olympic marathon

Starla Garcia ran in circles during a part of her life. It could have killed her. After battling with herself as well as anorexia and osteopenia, a weakening of the bones, she’s back. Now, she runs when she wants instead of when she thinks she has to. And she wants to run, especially Saturday, Feb. 29, when she will be one of more than 500 runners competing at the Olympic Marathon Trials in Atlanta. Read the full story at themonitor.com

Commissioner, collaboration credited for disaster aid award

A local congressman is crediting one Hidalgo County commissioner’s efforts to bring together local, state and federal officials for the success of a nine-figure federal disaster relief funding award announcement. “He put everybody together. He had Democrats and Republicans and senators and members of Congress and people at HUD and people in FEMA all in one room pushing for South Texas, and pushing for this region,” U.S. Rep. Vicente Gonzalez, D-McAllen, said during a news conference in Weslaco on Thursday. Gonzalez was describing Precinct 1 Hidalgo County Commissioner David Fuentes’ years-long efforts to secure disaster relief funding in the wake of powerful storms that devastated the region in 2015, 2018 and 2019 — as well as the recent announcement by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development to allocate a total of $193 million in aid for the Rio Grande Valley as part of a $3.8 billion national disaster aid package approved by Congress. Read the full story at themonitor.com

San Juan man faces smuggling charges after meth found inside car panels

A San Juan man faces federal smuggling charges after he attempted to sneak more than 100 packages of meth into the country, records show. Robert Soto stood before U.S. Magistrate J. Scott Hacker for his initial appearance Wednesday, a day after he was arrested at the Anzalduas port of entry. The arrest stems from U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers discovery of more than 36 kilos of meth inside a Ford Mustang Soto was driving. The court granted Soto’s request that an attorney be appointed to him. The government made a motion to have Soto remain in custody temporarily pending a detention hearing, which the court also granted, notes show. Read the full story at themonitor.com

Passengers numbers soar at McAllen airport

2019 was a record-setting year for enplanements at McAllen International Airport. According to a news release, McAllen International Airport (MFE) experienced approximately 432,178 passenger boardings last year, a 20% increase from 2018. The 2019 passenger boardings also happen to be the highest number of enplanements in MFE’s history. Read the full story at themonitor.com

Local agencies, schools shine a light on teen dating violence

Hidalgo County District Attorney Ricardo Rodriguez Jr., in collaboration with Weslaco ISD and the Weslaco Police Department, hosted the fifth annual Young Hearts Matter Teen Dating Violence Prevention event on Saturday morning. Dozens of people walked the main hallway at Mary Hoge Middle School, where law enforcement agencies and nonprofit organizations provided information about teen dating violence. The event featured a self-defense class for teens, parent sessions, a community fair and guest speakers from local and county organizations. Read the full story at themonitor.com

Arrest warrant issued for mother whose daughter was killed in crash

An arrest warrant has been issued for the mother of an 8-year-old girl killed in an early morning wreck earlier this month. Elia De La Cruz is set to turn herself in Monday, according to 229th District Attorney Omar Escobar, after which she will be arraigned on a charge of intoxication manslaughter. De La Cruz had been injured in the crash that killed her daughter, Leah Marie Gonzalez, early on Feb. 8. Read the full story at themonitor.com.

Brownsville students getting in spirit of Charro Days

Hundreds of students braved the cold weather Friday morning to kick off the Charro Days celebration at Putegnat Elementary School with a dance that entertained family members, who watched them perform to songs such as El Mariachi Loco wearing colorful dresses and Charro suits from Mexico. Read the full story at themonitor.com.

UTRGV encourages sustainability with 2020 FESTIBA

There’s few events that can boast a lineup quite as diverse as UTRGV’s Festival of International Books and Arts. This year’s FESTIBA, which kicks of Saturday in Edinburg, will feature world-class pianists, New York poets, flamenco performances and even a farmers market. Read the full story at themonitor.com.

McAllen Heritage Center celebrates upgrades

The McAllen Heritage Center held a grand re-opening reception on Thursday in celebration of refurbishments completed in the historic building. The museum, which is located in the “La Placita” building in downtown McAllen, went through a number of changes throughout the months of August through November of 2019. Read the full story at themonitor.com.

Starr DA outspends rival in latest finance reporting period

Throughout the month of January, the campaign of 229th District Attorney Omar Escobar outspent that of his opponent, Gocha Ramirez, in the lead up to the March Democratic Primary for which early voting has already begun. The campaign finance reports due on Feb. 3, the 30th day before the election, is the first reporting period in which Escobar outspent Ramirez. Read the full story at themonitor.com.