UTRGV wins on buzzer-beater, Texas delivers beatdown at Bert Ogden Arena
EDINBURG — Bert Ogden Arena played host to a men’s basketball doubleheader featuring UTRGV and No. The Vaqueros opened the show with a thrilling 78-77 win over Western Illinois on a buzzer-beating layup by Ahren Freeman. When the Vaqueros needed a bucket most, however, it was Freeman who received an inbounds pass trailing 77-76 with 3.4 seconds left. Texas (4-0) took the court after the Vaqueros in front of a crowd of 6,674 scattered with burnt orange. A lot of tradition here with basketball, a lot of tradition here with Longhorns fans and alumni, so I thought it was awesome,” Texas head coach Chris Beard said.myrgv.com
UTRGV officially introduces football, aquatics teams, spirit programs
Institutionally, this day is significant for us as a region, it puts us on a different trajectory,” Conque said. “I think the beauty of this is, and I think what we saw today, is it’s bigger than just athletics. “We offer a very high quality education here, great values, but what students can’t get is the traditional college experience. UTRGV athletics plans to hire the program’s first head coach in the next few months to give ample time to create a coaching staff to help launch UTRGV football. Bringing football to this region, Texas loves football and this area has probably been starved for football for a long time,” WAC commissioner Brian Thornton said.myrgv.com
Wind chills in the 30s and 40s in RGV’s forecast this weekend
The Rio Grande Valley could experience some of its coldest nights so far this fall, as wind chills in the 30s and 40s are expected Saturday night with the passing of another cold front through the area, the National Weather Service in Brownsville/Rio Grande Valley reports. With the wind chills in the forecast,you might want to have those extra blankets on hand to bundle up. Factor in the wind chills and it will feel much colder. “Colder temperatures and high winds in the wake of the front will lead to wind chills in the 30s Saturday night/Sunday morning,” the NWS reports. In addition to the wind chill advisory, a wind advisory may be needed for the barrier Island on Saturday, in addition to a coastal flood advisory, high surf advisory plus a gale warning, the NWS reports.myrgv.com
Valley residents air concerns with legislators on Operation Lone Star
Racial profiling, migrant deaths and traffic stops were among some of the main concerns Rio Grande Valley residents shared with state senators during a hearing held Tuesday to address the impact of Gov. Greg Abbott’s Operation Lone Star.myrgv.com
Powerful GOP siblings in sexual harassment lawsuit decry politics
The Hidalgo County GOP chair and her brother claim a lawsuit filed by a woman alleging a sexual harassment cover-up is a failed attempt to hurt their father’s political aspirations. Peña III resigned from former U.S. Rep. Mayra Flores’ campaign in September following multiple allegations of sexual harassment. Vaughan alleges Peña III forcefully kissed her and touched her thigh while driving her home from a July political function. Peña III and Peña-Garza allege they distanced themselves from Vaughan after she displayed “disturbing behavior” during various political events. The boundaries to this district were recently redrawn and more people in Hidalgo County voted for Vallejo.myrgv.com
Children’s Bereavement Center RGV hosts Family Day Out
The Children’s Bereavement Center-Rio Grande Valley partnered with the Harlingen Sunburst Rotary Club to host a special event Saturday from 9-2 p.m. for grieving families at Big Red’s Ranch in San Benito. “Reset & Remember: A Family Day Out” featured activities for all ages, from canoeing to hayrides, to offer ways for families to remember lost loved ones during November, which is Children’s Grief Awareness month. “Every time a holiday or major event happens, grief doesn’t end; it is forever—you just learn to manage it,” the Center’s Executive Director Ernest Espinoza said. “This event helps the families that have lost loved ones to come here and start over in a way.”The admission fee of $12 was free for the first 150 attendees, with lunch provided thanks to the financial support of the Harlingen Sunburst Rotary Club, which partnered with the Center for the event. “Alongside Rotary District 5930, we wrote a grant for $3,000 to support the Children’s Bereavement Center of the Rio Grande Valley, to give the children of this area a day of celebration, enjoyment and remembrance—because they have grief that we need to account for,” Israel Aguilar, President of the Harlingen Sunburst Rotary Club, saidmyrgv.com
Driscoll reaches milestone in construction of RGV children’s hospital
EDINBURG — The construction of the Rio Grande Valley’s first standalone children’s hospital is one step closer to completion. A topping-off ceremony marking the placement of the final beam on Driscoll Children’s Hospital Rio Grande Valley took place here Thursday with officials from Driscoll, DHR Health, Edinburg and McAllen gathered for the celebration. Eric Hamon, president and CEO of Driscoll Health System, said they hope to see their first patient at the new Edinburg hospital in the final months of 2023. “We’re eager to open our doors to the first designated children’s hospital here in the Rio Grande Valley,” Matt Wolthoff, president of the new children’s hospital, said in his remarks. Ultimately, they expect to have a staff of 500 to 600 people, according to Eric Hamon, president and CEO of Driscoll Health System.myrgv.com
Here’s a rundown of Veterans Day ceremonies scheduled in the RGV
McALLENThe city of McAllen will be hosting a Veterans Day Ceremony at 10 a.m. on Friday at the Texas Veterans War Memorial, located at 3129 Galveston Ave. “On Veterans Day, we remember those brave men and women who honorably served our great nation,” McAllen Mayor Javier Villalobos said in a statement. You can park at the Mission Nature Area on South Conway south of Expressway 83 or at Bentsen RGV State Park, located at 2800 S. Bentsen Palm Drive. WESLACOThe city of Weslaco will observe Veterans Day with a ceremony at Bobby Lackey Stadium from 10 to 11:30 a.m. Friday. The march will end at Veterans Park located at 2500 Central Blvd.myrgv.com
McAllen Republican secures spot on Edinburg-based appellate court
While Republicans in South Texas may not have experienced the “red wave” they sought with much of the Rio Grande Valley voting blue, they did win a spot on the 20-county 13th Court of Appeals. The main headlines here Tuesday night were Republican Monica De La Cruz’s historic win to represent District 15, but longtime Republican operative Aaron Peña Jr. successfully secured a spot on the Edinburg-based appellate court early Wednesday morning. With all precincts reporting from the 20 counties that the 13th Court of Appeals serves, Peña secured a total of 225,132 votes for 52.61% of the vote compared to Hinojosa, who garnered 47.39% with 202,824 voters casting ballots in her favor. The appellate court is now split evenly down the line with three Republicans and three Democrats. Hinojosa was elected to the court in 2016 and took office in 2017.myrgv.com
Cooler temperatures, rain in the forecast this weekend
If you are one of those individuals who likes to start decorating early for Christmas, this weekend’s weather forecast is going to get you in that holiday spirit. A cold front will push through the Rio Grande Valley Friday afternoon into Friday night bringing much cooler weather to the area. Saturday’s daytime temperatures will be on the upper 50s to low 60s, and that could be a “shock” to the system after weeks of above normal temperatures, the National Weather Service in Brownsville/Rio Grande Valley reports. Temperatures are forecast to drop 25 to 35 degrees between Friday afternoon and Saturday afternoon, the NWS reports. The high temperatures on Sunday will be in the mid to upper 60s across the Valley.myrgv.com
State inspectors will be at Election Day polling locations throughout RGV
Inspectors from the Texas Secretary of State’s office are scheduled to visit Election Day polling locations throughout the Rio Grande Valley, including in Starr County where a school election has led to multiple complaints.myrgv.com
GOP heavyweights McCarthy, Gingrich back ‘triple threat’ candidates in McAllen
Republicans need to flip just five seats in the U.S. House of Representatives in order to take control of the chamber. The Valley’s rightward shift recently resulted in a huge win for the Republican Party when voters elected Flores this June to fill the unexpired term of Democrat Filemon Vela Jr., who resigned on March 31. “We made a little history this year with Mayra Flores getting elected,” McCarthy said. I promise you, we will introduce a bill to defund the 87,000 IRS agents, my friends,” Garcia said. “We don’t need 87,000 IRS agents, my friends, we need 87,000 Border Patrol agents, my friends,” she said, before similarly suggesting 87,000 U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers, or 87,000 school security guards.myrgv.com
Former President Bill Clinton tentatively scheduled to visit RGV
The state Democratic Party has tentative plans to bring President Bill Clinton to the Rio Grande Valley on Monday, a day before Election Day, according to the party chair. Clinton will be in Laredo stumping for U.S. Rep. Henry Cuellar, D-Laredo, who is running a reelection campaign against Republican newcomer Cassy Garcia for District 28. The congressman said he’s known Clinton since 1991 when he worked as a campaign manager for him in Texas. “We’re excited because if there’s anyone who could motivate people to go vote it is President Clinton. The last time Clinton visited Laredo was in 2016 when former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton was running for president.myrgv.com
National Republican leaders to hold rally in McAllen
Top Republican leaders will be visiting McAllen on Sunday to stump for the three Republican congressional candidates running to represent the Rio Grande Valley. House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich and Republican National Committee Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel will be attending a rally here hoping to inspire more people to vote in the midterm elections, which will be held Tuesday. The rally will feature Monica De La Cruz, the candidate for Texas’ District 15; Cassy Gacia, candidate for District 28; and U.S. Rep. Mayra Flores who is seeking a full term as the representative for District 34. The event will be held Sunday at the Radisson Hotel McAllen Airport, located at 2721 S. 10th Street. It is scheduled to begin at 5 p.m and end at 6:30 p.m.myrgv.com
Showers and thunderstorms expected tonight across the Rio Grande Valley, as cold front approaches
Showers and thunderstorms are possible tonight as a weak cold front will make its way through the Rio Grande Valley. There’s a 60% chance of thunderstorms that will mainly occur between 1 a.m. and 4 a.m. Saturday morning, the National Weather Service in Brownsville/Rio Grande Valley reports. According to the NWS, some of the storms could produce gusty winds. The lows tonight will be around 68 degrees. There’s a 30% chance of showers or thunderstorms Saturday morning.myrgv.com
Advocates decry sale of former McAllen abortion clinic to anti-abortion group
What was once the last abortion clinic in the Rio Grande Valley is now owned by an anti-abortion group. McAllen Pregnancy Center, an anti-abortion establishment that is located just a few doors down from the former downtown clinic, now holds the deed. Alberto Rosas” for the McAllen Pregnancy Center, according to the Form 990 the center filed with the Internal Revenue Service in 2019. Shortly after purchasing the clinic from Whole Woman’s Health, Rosas sold it to McAllen Pregnancy Center, which is a crisis pregnancy center that exists primarily to convince people not to have abortions. It also said the organization and its realtor had researched Peruvian Alliance before approving the sale of the clinic.myrgv.com
Abbott draws big crowd in Mission as early voting wraps up
Abbott spent 20 minutes talking to a crowd that numbered in the hundreds, clearly more than organizers expected. It’s unclear how much Abbott’s Valley visits — the amount of which he’s fond of bragging about — will matter much for his race. That rhetoric has been popular with Valley Republican candidates this cycle, including De La Cruz. Abbott only got one heckler Thursday: Meri Gomez, of Mission, who began shouting at the governor halfway through his speech. Despite the tension, the high political stakes and repeat visits from both Abbott and O’Rourke, it’s unclear whether either party has made inroads.myrgv.com
At two stories tall, this Alamo altar is believed to be the largest in the RGV dedicated to Dia de los Muertos
ALAMO — The lights were off and all one could see were the candles illuminating the altar, framing the two-story tall ofrenda adorned with photos and images of dearly departed loved ones. The altar here in Alamo captures the idea of a holiday that’s named after death but celebrates life — to be beautiful and bold. On display at the Resurrection Catholic Church in Alamo, the altar here is bold and beautiful, and captures the idea of a holiday that’s named after death but celebrates life — Día de los Muertos. The church says it’s the largest in the Rio Grande Valley where residents could place photos of their loved ones who have died on the altar to honor their memory. Those who celebrate this holiday decorate an altar with cempasúchil flowers and other Dia de los Muertos iconography.myrgv.com
Low voter turnout continues in the Rio Grande Valley despite local competitive races
He projected the 2022 turnout would be somewhere between the average turnout of the last two elections. Starr and Willacy counties did not have historical data available on their websites to provide a comparison for 2022 election turnout. During midterm elections, local races are mostly decided during the primaries, leaving some local races decided and mostly state races on the ballot. Corral said the lower turnout this year indicates a “reversion to the mean,” a return to the average low turnout rates. Corral believes the current low turnout and the high turnout of 2018 are both related to the party holding the presidential office.myrgv.com
Warm December on tap for Rio Grande Valley
As the National Weather Service in Brownsville/Rio Grande Valley announces its weather forecast for the late fall and winter months, you are going to want to inspect your winter clothing and heaters. It wouldn’t surprise me at all if December 2022 was a top 10 warmest across the Valley,” Goldsmith said. Although December 2021 was a warm one, the Valley immediately switched to winter mode the first few days in January 2022 with temperatures dropping into the 40s and 30s. “In just a couple of days it went from late summer to winter,” Goldsmith said. Goldsmith said meteorologists will know more next month as to what the Valley can expect in February.myrgv.com
Cameron County Republicans challenging Democratic base
HARLINGEN — Cameron County residents are going to the polls in strong numbers for early voting, closing in on 2018’s record mid-term election turnout amid heavily contested races as Republicans challenge Democrats in the Rio Grande Valley’s traditionally Democratic stronghold. Early voting runs through Nov. 4. Early voting demographicsSo far, the election’s early voting list, which includes information on voters who have cast ballots, is offering a snap-shot into voters’ demographics. “For once, people actually have congressional races where people are being courted.”Meanwhile, she pointed to local Republican women challenging the county’s traditional Democratic base. “You see a tremendous amount of money coming from the outside.”Meanwhile, Cisneros Graham pointed to a “grass-roots” movement as drawing more Republican voters.myrgv.com
Texas Butterfly Festival kicks off Saturday
She probably would never have seen the diminutive butterfly sporting a captivating blue jacket in her native Alabama, and it’s one of many reasons she’s in the Valley for the Texas Butterfly Festival. The tours begin Sunday and will take nature lovers as far west as Falcon State Park and east to Brownsville and perhaps even Boca Chica. “We’ve had 104 species of butterflies this month including many rarities including a second U.S. record, and there are butterflies all over the place.”Guerra said the Texas Butterfly Festival happens during the peak season of butterflies here in the Rio Grande Valley. “The reason the Rio Grande Valley is a hotspot for butterflies is for a couple of reasons,” Guerra said. It was one of several specialties that nature lovers will find here not only in the next few days, but weeks to come.myrgv.com
La Joya man arraigned for death of local social media influencer
EDINBURG — A La Joya man accused of shooting and killing a Rio Grande Valley social media influencer pleaded not guilty to murder Friday morning. Gerardo Chapa Jr. appeared before state District Judge Mario E. Ramirez for his arraignment following the death of Luis Alonzo “Pepino” Gonzalez. Chapa is accused of shooting and killing Gonzalez after an argument on Aug. 1. The shooting occurred in the 2000 block of Redbud Avenue in McAllen at about 3:35 p.m. Police found Gonzalez with multiple gunshot wounds. Gonzalez’s family spoke to The Monitor the day of the funeral and described Gonzalez as a kind and giving man who was popular on social media.myrgv.com
HHS Secretary Becerra talks healthcare costs during RGV visit
Becerra traveled to the Valley from Washington D.C. at Gonzalez’s invitation to see firsthand some of the region’s most pressing healthcare concerns, including shortfalls in access to mental health care and the increasingly prohibitive costs of medications. At the beginning of his career, a vial of insulin cost as much as $30, Garza said. And they end up on dialysis — costing us as taxpayers an astronomical amount of money,” Garza said. At the end of the year, however, Medicare will claw back much of that money, if not more, Garza said. However, the secretary also chastised Senate Republicans for restricting that price to Medicare patients only.myrgv.com
Building a prosperous Valley
1 exporter — a title the state has proudly held for 18 consecutive years — and something the Rio Grande Valley Partnership is committed to continuing. As I embark on my new journey serving as the CEO of the Rio Grande Valley Partnership, I have had the privilege to speak with members of our communities from all corners of the Valley. For the past two years, we have watched the federal government impede our nation’s energy sector by working to advance unreasonable policies and regulations. Many of these eliminated Texas jobs and sent energy prices skyrocketing, rising 41.6% since last June. Daniel Silva is the President and CEO of the Rio Grande Valley Partnership.myrgv.com
Construction begins on Anzalduas bridge cargo facilities
Construction on cargo facilities for the Anzalduas International Bridge is finally set to begin, converting the bridge into a full-service commercial cargo port of entry which will enable increased trade between the U.S. and Mexico. Officials marked the beginning of construction on the bridge expansion project with a groundbreaking ceremony Wednesday morning. Though there are five international bridges in Hidalgo County, only the Pharr International Bridge currently allows cargo to pass through. “Most importantly, the total international trade for Texas is over $1 billion on a daily basis. When the bridge was built 12 years ago, it was built with the intention of facilitating commercial traffic, Rodriguez said.myrgv.com
Photo Gallery: Construction begins on Anzalduas bridge cargo facilities
Construction on cargo facilities for the Anzalduas International Bridge is finally set to begin, converting the bridge into a full-service commercial cargo port of entry which will enable increased trade between the U.S. and Mexico.myrgv.com
Fury FC returns to Bert Ogden Arena on Sunday
EDINBURG — Fury Fighting Championship makes its return to the Rio Grande Valley with a stacked Fury FC 70 card featuring 10 professional bouts and 11 amateur mixed-martial arts contests Sunday at Bert Ogden Arena in Edinburg. The main event is headlined by Carlos Lozoya (7-2) and Cleveland McLean (16-9) in the flyweight division, while Lajuan Davis (4-0) and Zack Borrego (3-1) serve as the co-main event. Fighting on the prelims is Edinburg’s Adan Adame (1-1), Edinburg’s Isaac Vasquez (0-0), Brownsville’s Enrique Rodriguez Jr. (0-0), Mission’s Abner Castro (1-0), Mission’s Jessie Pantoja (0-2), Mission’s Joshua Quintero (0-3) and Pharr’s Enrique Tapia (1-0). The preliminary card starts at 2:30 p.m.Tickets can be purchased at www.bertogdenarena.com/upcoming-events/ or www.furyfc.tv/tickets. The event can also be streamed online through UFC Fight Pass.myrgv.com
Dr. Gutierrez honored for years of serve at Hope Clinic in McAllen
McALLEN — The mood inside the RBG Bar & Grill at the Radisson Hotel McAllen Airport was festive as friends and family gathered to honor Dr. Albert H. Gutierrez. “We’ve been very impressed with the number of high-quality, really dedicated people that we have down here in the RGV helping our communities. Born and raised in Rio Grande City, Gutierrez has spent over 55 years practicing medicine, including 24 years in the Valley. He has spent 15 years serving as the medical director at the Hope Clinic, a nonprofit that offers affordable healthcare services for the uninsured. Whether it’s work or a substance, share.’”The 83-year-old doctor continues to work part-time at the Hope Clinic.myrgv.com
Abbott backers cheer governor at Harlingen GOP rally
Greg Abbott returned to Harlingen on Monday drumming up support for Republican get-out-the vote efforts in the Rio Grande Valley. They are targeting Democratic Rep. Henry Cuellar’s 28th District seat, where he is being challenged by Republican Cassy Garcia, the 15th District seat given up by Rep. Vicente Gonzalez, and in keeping the seat of 34th District incumbent Republican Rep. Mayra Flores, who is facing Gonzalez. In the 15th District, Republican Monica De La Cruz is facing Democrat Michelle Vallejo. Each of the Republican nominees raised over $1 million this summer, campaign filings show, with Garcia bringing in $1.7 million. Combined, the three GOP candidates raised $4.3 million in the last three months, while their Democratic opposition brought in $2.4 million combined.myrgv.com
High-poverty schools struggle to earn Texas’ highest rating. Some in the Rio Grande Valley break that trend.
The Texas Education Agency has dismissed the notion that the accountability ratings are a poverty rating. As evidence, they point to districts like those in the Rio Grande Valley, which have achieved high marks while serving a high number of economically disadvantaged students.
Texas needs to do more to help Hispanic students graduate from college, university leaders say
In a Texas Tribune event Tuesday, university leaders discussed why Hispanic students finish higher education programs at a lower rate than the state average but have better performance in the Rio Grande Valley and El Paso.
To stay in Congress, Mayra Flores bets Democratic South Texas is ready for an outspoken conservative
A Mexican immigrant who worked in cotton fields to pay for school supplies, Flores is a source of hope for Republicans looking to gain ground in the Rio Grande Valley. But her staying power will be put to the test this November.
Former UT-Brownsville President Juliet García to receive Presidential Medal of Freedom
García served as the president of the University of Texas at Brownsville until it merged with the University of Texas-Pan American to become the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley. She is the first Mexican American woman to lead a college or university in the United States.
As they target South Texas, Republicans say one Democratic county isn’t maintaining campaign finance records
Starr County, one of the four counties that make up the Rio Grande Valley, has not been able to produce campaign finance reports that it is required to maintain, according to a GOP group targeting the area.
Under Texas’ strict abortion law, McAllen clinic sees patients seeking medication across the border
The law went into effect in September, a week before Mexico’s Supreme Court dissolved a Coahuila state law that made abortion a crime. Now some Texans further along in their pregnancies are going there for abortion-inducing drugs.
International trade halted at Texas border crossings as truckers protest Greg Abbott’s new inspections
Commercial traffic at the Pharr-Reynosa International Bridge stopped Monday and a similar protest affected traffic into and out of El Paso. The blockades could impact the flow of produce to restaurants and grocery stores.
U.S. Rep. Filemon Vela’s resignation announcement sparks a sudden special-election scramble in hotly contested South Texas
A special election will determine who finishes Vela’s term, and while the winner will only serve for a short period, Republicans are already eyeing the contest to show momentum in South Texas.
Republicans more than doubled turnout in the Rio Grande Valley compared with the last midterm primary
Democrats in the region still had higher turnout, but Republicans celebrated the narrowing of the gap. Despite the improvement, nearly 87% of registered voters in the Rio Grande Valley did not vote in the primary, similar to the rate in 2018.
Feds seek to protect rare Texas plant in the path of border wall construction
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service proposed a rule earlier this week to list the prostrate milkweed, which lives along the Texas-Mexico border, as an endangered species. The rare plant is threatened in part by border security activities, scientists say.
Former ACLU lawyer Rochelle Garza decides to run for attorney general after redistricting upends congressional campaign
Garza, a former lawyer for the American Civil Liberties Union, had been running to succeed retiring U.S. Rep. Filemon Vela, D-Brownsville. U.S. Rep. Vicente Gonzalez, D-McAllen, is now running for Vela's seat after redistricting made Gonzalez's seat more competitive for Republicans.
U.S. Rep. Vicente Gonzalez will run for a different House seat in 2022 after redistricting made his more competitive
Texas lawmakers made Gonzalez’s current 15th Congressional District more competitive for Republicans. The representative now plans to run in the 34th District, which is safer for Democrats.
South Texas was already a political battleground. New maps could alter game plans.
With proposed maps out, U.S. Rep. Vicente Gonzalez, D-McAllen, says he might switch to a neighboring district where U.S. Rep. Filemon Vela, D-Brownsville, is retiring. The initial maps are also sure to impact decisions in regional legislative races.
Asylum-seeking families and children made up nearly half of July border crossings: “This is young mamas and daddies trying to save their families”
Migrant crossings on the U.S.-Mexico border reached a 21-year high in July. This video takes you to the epicenter: Texas’ Rio Grande Valley, where more crossings are happening than in any other region in the country.
Texas border communities grapple with dueling crises, COVID-19 pandemic and migrant surge
Several border leaders continue to call on President Joe Biden to pause the release of asylum-seeking migrants into the United States. These calls for help come as many border communities are struggling under the weight of the COVID-19 pandemic.