COVID Confessions: Different responses, different results observed from Vietnam

When I stepped into the taxi, the driver shook his head and adjusted his mask a little more tightly. “American?” he asked. “You have more deaths than anywhere in the world! You are lucky to be safe in Vietnam.” I was lucky. As I write, Vietnam has reported no deaths from COVID-19 and only 326 infections in a country of almost 100 million. In January, Hanoians celebrating Lunar New Year gathered along the shores of Hoan Kiem Lake, taking pictures in traditional dress and carrying blooming pink peach blossom trees on the back of motorbikes as they hurried to join family celebrations. Read the full story at

COVID Confessions: How a global pandemic made me homesick

As a child, I always dreamed that one day I would be able to move out of my parents’ home and head straight for the “Big Apple.” In 2016 I got into drama school in New York City and a childhood dream was slowly becoming a reality. I packed my life away into three suitcases and my parents dropped me off at the airport. I walked through the security gate, my eyes were starting to swell with tears, and I turned around to wave goodbye to my parents before I embarked on my new journey. Now, four years and a master’s degree later, I’m quarantined in my overly priced apartment in New York City, 1,984 miles from San Juan, Texas, and 10,475,520 feet away from my loved ones and not a mere 6 feet, as recommended by the CDC. Read the full story at

COVID Confessions: Films have long helped us escape grim realities, and they’re doing it...

My mother was never the type of person who bought movies. In fact, she hated it. When I’d ask for a movie as a kid, she always made a certain facial expression. She slightly furrowed her eyebrows, while giving half a smile, almost like she was mocking you. But to be fair, my dad constantly bought movies at flea markets and yard sales, so her reaction seemed appropriate. How could you want more when there’s already some in the house?  I remember when my mother, my aunt, my cousins and I watched “Frontera” with Michael Peña and Eva Longoria. Because of the language barrier between the family, the movie was in Spanish, but we had the subtitles in English to suit everyone.  Read the full story at

COVID Confessions: Moving home was never part of the plan. Coronavirus changed that.

When I returned to McAllen to visit my parents the first week of March, I thought I’d only be here for a few days. A global pandemic had other plans for me. Eight weeks later — 56 days and counting — this is my new reality. This 28-year-old CNN reporter is back in her hometown, living with her parents, and a new sort of rhythm has set in. And what a different rhythm it is. I had just come off the heels of the experience of a lifetime as an embedded presidential campaign reporter for CNN. I spent a year covering Elizabeth Warren, attending all her public events, asking the Massachusetts senator questions every chance I got, and crisscrossing the country — sometimes visiting several states in a day. It couldn’t have been more frenzied or hectic. Read the full story at

COVID Confessions: From seeing Cher to social distancing, so much has changed so quickly

By Keely Lewis By some quirk of fate, my husband and I took a long-planned tour of Italy in October, never imagining that within four...

LETTERS: Somewhere in our time; Take this nation back

Somewhere in our time Somewhere in time — somewhere between the first breath of our life and the last gasp of our being — we...

2019 RGV Citizens of the Year: Valley MPO officials

Many cities and towns comprise the Rio Grande Valley, yet it generally is regarded as a single entity, with common characteristics, goals and problems. Its residents can be seen as one big family. Like any family, the relationships among the member cities and counties are complicated. Despite their commonality they sometimes come at odds, competing for key businesses and other features that can boost the economy not only of the Valley as a whole, but also of the host city. Clashes over the placement of institutions such as the medical school or funding allocations have even raised consternation from state officials who said no allocations would be considered until local officials stopped bickering and presented a single regional request. Sometimes, however, sensible, regional thinking develops on its own, and that happened in a big way when the Valley’s three metropolitan planning organizations, which plan transportation projects for the areas they cover, agreed to merge into one regional body. Read the full story at

Letters to the Editor: Thanks for fundraiser; City supported on immigration; America invaded

Thanks for fundraiser Kudos to our police department, all the volunteers and the Baptist Retreat Center for the time and work that went into the...

EDITORIAL: Dear Mr. Trump: We have some suggestions regarding your border visit

Your office has announced that you plan to visit the U.S.-Mexico border this week to “meet with those on the front lines of the...

EDITORIAL: Giving thanks: Even amid angst and turmoil, we have reasons for gratitude

MONITOR EDITORIAL Perhaps it’s appropriate that Thanksgiving comes so soon after our national elections, when much of the country is upset about the results and...