Sea turtle nesting season begins on Texas Coast

From now through September, many female sea turtles will be traveling toward the Texas Coast to find their desired nesting locations. Because of this, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service representatives are urging Texas coastal visitors to do their part in helping protect these threatened and endangered sea turtles that are making their way to the beach. According to FWS representatives, these species include threatened loggerhead and green sea turtles, as well as Kemp’s ridley sea turtles, which are the most critically endangered sea turtles in the world. Read the full story at themonitor.com

Mask orders issued as RGV positive cases near 200

Cities throughout Hidalgo County began implementing more stringent requirements for those out in public as the number of confirmed cases of COVID-19 continued to grow. On Sunday, the cities of Mission and Elsa announced orders requiring the use of masks for people traveling outside their own dwelling. Mission's order was effective immediately while the order for the city of Elsa is effective 5 a.m. Monday. Read the full story at themonitor.com

Harlingen church offers drive-in service for Palm Sunday

Where there’s faith, there’s a way. The Rev. Charlie Palmer, pastor of Treasure Hills Presbyterian Church, on Sunday found that if you hold it they will come. Social distancing doesn’t mean church services need to be suspended, as long as you have a creative streak and a parking lot. Read the full story at themonitor.com

RGC man pleads guilty in marijuana case 

A Rio Grande City man will forgo a jury trial after he pleaded guilty last week to trying to smuggle more than 550 pounds of marijuana, records show.  Jesus Carlos Villarreal Jr. pleaded true to drug smuggling charges Wednesday related to his arrest last year in Starr County after agents found him with bundles of marijuana.  Villarreal was arrested in December after he told U.S. Border Patrol agents he agreed to smuggle several kilos of marijuana for an unknown cash payment because he desperately needed money for Christmas.  Read the full story at themonitor.com

Starr County reports one new case of COVID-19

Starr County received one new positive case of COVID-19 Sunday, bringing their total to seven cases there. Read the full story at themonitor.com

Hidalgo Co. nears triple-digit COVID-19 cases

Thirteen more cases of COVID-19 in Hidalgo County were reported Sunday afternoon, bringing the total to 99. The cases were reported to the county from late Friday through Sunday, according to a news release. "As investigators dig deeper in all the known infections, they are beginning to discern patterns suggesting how the spread of the disease is unfolding in Hidalgo County," Eddie Olivarez, the chief administrator of Hidalgo County’s Health and Human Services Department, stated in the news release. "Health officials now believe they are seeing 13 different clusters of infection that emanated from people who contracted the virus earlier but have since spread it to others." Read the full story at themonitor.com

Cameron Co. reports 10 more COVID-19 cases

Cameron County health officials reported 10 additional cases of COVID-19 Sunday afternoon, bringing the total there to 87. Read the full story at themonitor.com

Many families excluded from benefits

A provision of the $2 trillion CARES Act economic relief package signed into law March 27 sets aside $250 billion for direct payments to individuals and families to help soften the blow of lost income and economic upheaval caused by COVID-19. The IRS announced that checks, up to $1,200 per individual or $2,400 per married couple, plus $500-per-child payments for eligible households, may start going out as early as April 9, though some Americans won’t get theirs until September, a source of much criticism considering relief is badly needed now. Moreover, a significant portion of the populations of Brownsville, the Rio Grande Valley and Texas are unlikely to receive any financial assistance through the CARES Act — even residents who pay federal taxes. U.S. residents with Social Security Numbers and an adjusted gross income up to $75,000 will receive the full $1,200, though individuals earning up to $99,000, or $136,500 for head-of-household filers, will receive a lesser amount. Otherwise, individuals making more than $99,000 will not receive relief checks. Married couples without children and with a combined income below $150,000 will receive $2,400, while couples making up to $198,000 in combined income will receive less. Read the full story at themonitor.com

Elsa orders use of masks

The city of Elsa is ordering the use of masks, or facial and nose coverings, starting at 5 a.m. Monday. All persons over the age of 3 will be required to cover their nose and mouth when entering into any building that is not their dwelling, in a business' parking lot and when pumping gas. "For clarity, medical grade coverings, such as N95 and surgical masks are not required," the order states, "and the public is encouraged to use other forms of covering so not to disrupt the supply of medical grade coverings for health care facilities and professionals and first responders." Read the full story at themonitor.com

Mission orders use of masks effective immediately

Mission Mayor Armando O'Caña signed an order Sunday requiring the use of masks while out in public effective immediately. "Residents are to wear cloth like material, medical grade masks are not required," the city stated in a Facebook post. "A handkerchief, scarf, fishing gaiter or a homemade mask will suffice." "We are doing what we can to protect our residents and stop the spread of COVID-19, based on CDC regulations," the city added. Read the full story at themonitor.com