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Laredo woman named BBVA’s Texas Border and Gulf Coast CEO

Susana Valencia was promoted Monday to BBVA USA’s new Texas Border and Gulf Coast CEO, a position in which her duties will stretch to the Rio Grande Valley. As the Texas Border and Gulf Coast CEO, Valencia will oversee markets for the bank that include the Valley, El Paso, Corpus Christi and Beaumont, in addition to continuing to serve as Laredo city president, a news release from the organization stated. According to the statement, Jon Rebello, who previously held the CEO position, has been promoted to the bank’s Austin CEO post. The bank is currently seeking a candidate to fill Rebello’s McAllen city president seat. Read the full story at themonitor.com

Local students pen Christmas letters asking to help the homeless

Roma third-grader Amelia Alvarez, after asking for a dog, wrote about one main wish she has in her letter to Santa Claus this year: to help the homeless. “I wish that people are nice every (day) to the homeless people,” Amelia, who attends Delia G. Garcia Elementary in Roma, wrote. “I very wish that people can help the homeless people, to give them food and clothing and water and a home to live in, and I wish that everyone was happy not sad.” She reassured Santa that she had been good this year by helping her mom clean the house, and wished that people were more kind and generous to those without a home. Read the full story at themonitor.com

Hidalgo County races take shape for 2020 primary

Candidates have filed to run for offices across Hidalgo County and voters will see several contested races on the ballot for the March 2020 primary. In perhaps the most high-profile race, incumbent Hidalgo County Sheriff Eddie Guerra will attempt to defend his seat from several challengers. Guerra, who was elected sheriff in 2014, will face two opponents in the Democratic primary: Frank Guerrero, a former law enforcement officer and current business owner, and Raul Salinas, a police officer. Read the full story at themonitor.com

Appellate court reverses dismissal of Godfrey Garza case

An appellate court handed Hidalgo County Drainage District No. 1 a big win in November when it ruled it could continue it’s lawsuit against its former drainage district manager, who is accused of making millions of dollars based on alleged fraudulent claims involving border wall construction funds. Godfrey Garza Jr., the former drainage district general manager and owner of Integ Corporation, is accused of submitting fraudulent invoices for work his company performed while he was at the helm of the district. Garza began managing the district as an employee in 1995. But in October 2000, Hidalgo County commissioners, who also fill in as the board of directors for the drainage district, gave Garza the greenlight to allow his company, Integ, to manage the district, while also allowing it to receive outside work through the private sector. Read the full story at themonitor.com

Three new members appointed to Mission housing board

Three new members were appointed to the Mission Housing Authority board of commissioners last week to replace the board members whose terms expired this month. Mission Mayor Armando O’Caña appointed Jesus Cantu, Joe Louis Sanchez and Everardo “Vere” Gomez and Joe Louis Sanchez to the board for terms that begin Jan. 15, 2020, and run through Dec. 15, 2021. Sanchez, who unsuccessfully ran for city council in 2016, said he had long-wanted to serve on the housing board and hoped to bring a fresh perspective. Read the full story at themonitor.com

Trucks cross Pharr bridge in greater numbers in November

If the trade industry was treading cautiously in the United States and Mexico toward the end of 2019 when it was unsure if the U.S. House of Representatives would authorize a new North American trade deal, that caution was not reflected in November at the Pharr-Reynosa International Bridge. Trucks continued crossing the bridge in greater numbers toward the end of the year and eclipsed the crossings of the same months in 2018. There were 50,665 trucks that crossed the bridge southbound in November, a minor increase of nearly 1% and netting $1.2 million in revenues for the month. While the trend of steady truck traffic at the bridge since the summer continued into the fall, the U.S. House took until just last week to finally authorize the new NAFTA, called the United States-Canada-Mexico Agreement following months of negotiations between the Trump administration, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Democratic lawmakers and Mexican officials. Read the full story at themonitor.com

45-year-old man killed in Edinburg crash

Police here are still investigating a crash that left a man dead in the early hours of Monday. According to a news release, police dispatched to a three-vehicle crash on the northbound lanes of the 4700 block of North Expressway 281 near Davis Road at 2:28 a.m. A Jeep Wrangler was traveling in the southbound lanes of the 4700 block of North Expressway 281. According to the preliminary investigation, the driver lost control of the vehicle, crossed the grassy median and ended up stopping in the northbound lanes of the expressway. Read the full story at themonitor.com

Former Second Lady Biden visits Matamoros refugee camp

Hundreds of migrants from the largest refugee camp on the United States-Mexico border lined up for food with mud caked on their feet following a rainy weekend in the Rio Grande Valley that left their squalid camp a muddy mess. Food is often brought by American volunteers who cross Brownsville’s Gateway International Bridge, but Sunday was different. Tamales, beans and rice from Taco Palenque were on the menu and Dr. Jill Biden — the former Second Lady of the United States and a campaign surrogate for her husband Joe Biden, a leading contender for the Democratic nomination in 2020 — was about to arrive with her host, U.S. Rep. Filemon Vela. An early Christmas meal is the least they could do, Vela said. Read the full story at themonitor.com.

Best Buy staff reward customer for his loyalty

There was just one present under the tree.  Sitting on the couch in the breakroom of Best Buy on Nov. 24, Alma Flores suspected her son John David Flores may have known what was to come.  “John, do you know what’s going on?” Alma recalled asking him, knowing that only she knew what was inside the gift: a new camera for her son, who dearly loves photography.  John David, 35, said he didn’t know, but knowing the employees of the McAllen store, who he now considers his close friends, he knew they had something special prepared for him. Read the full story at themonitor.com.

Military voting overseas expected to be streamlined

Members of the United States military are expected to have an easier time voting while deployed overseas, according to a bill that was signed into law on Friday. U.S. Sen. John Cornyn announced the measure that he authored, the Military Voting Protection Act, which President Trump signed on Friday. The law is expected to ensure service members are provided with ballots and registration cards necessary to vote while deployed overseas, with instruction from trained personnel on how to cast their vote in their registered state. Read the full story at themonitor.com.