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General Interest

Sheriff Candidate forum held at UTPA

20140723 SHERIFF CANDIDATE FORUM UTPA JMB 4250Six candidates seeking their party’s selection to be on the November ballot to elect a new Hidalgo County sheriff appeared at a candidate forum hosted by the UTPA Department of Criminal Justice at the Edinburg university campus Wednesday afternoon.

Seeking the Democratic Party’s selection to appear on the ballot this fall are Juan Gonzalez, Eddie Guerra, Frank Guerrero and Geovani Hernandez.

The sole Libertarian nominee is Vince Ousley and the only Republican candidate attending the forum was Al Perez. Israel Pacheco, who was seeking the Republican’s spot on the ballot is said to be ineligible.

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Hospital district to be on November ballot

Hidalgo-County-SealState Senator Juan “Chuy” Hinojosa addressed Hidalgo County Commissioners in their Tuesday, July 22, meeting, telling them creation of the proposed hospital district is required if the county is to receive proper funding for indigent care. The state legislature met in Austin recently to approve placement of a hospital district on the November ballot.

Hinojosa said the hospital district would create a new tax that would be capped at $0.25 per $100 valuation. Estimates of the tax had been as much as $0.75 but Hinojosa said that amount would not happen. But it will not start at $0.25, he said. The proposal is a tax of $0.08 to $0.10 per $100 valuation. This tax will raise funds to take the place of the annual $8 million of the budget the county must now pay for indigent health care as this cost would be taken over by the health district. When the hospital district is created the county could then lower county taxes or use that money for other purposes.

The senator said Hidalgo, Cameron and Web Counties are without a hospital district, like most areas receiving money for indigent health care. Many large metropolitan areas have an entire hospital dedicated to indigent care. Valley counties work with private hospitals, as there are no public hospitals in the Rio Grande Valley.

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Chief appraiser: County following state formula on mobile home property values

Hidalgo-County-SealAfter protesting, Winter Texan Dale Miller was able to get the property appraisal on his mobile home at Paradise Park in McAllen nearly cut in half, but he fears other Winter Texans won’t be so lucky.

In order to protest appraisal values, property owners must show up for a hearing during the summer, during the off-season.

But in a recent meeting with the Hidalgo County Chief Appraiser Rolando Garza and the OWLS (Objective Watchers of the Legal System), Miller was told the county is following state law.

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Most agree on protecting children in immigration debate

20140718 BP-PatrolAs unaccompanied children from Central America continue to flock to the United States, most people on both side of the debate on what to do with them seem to agree on one thing–the children need to be protected.

In a vigil at Sacred Heart Church in McAllen, young adults who came to the United States illegally as youths, pleaded the plight of the children, saying their lives had been turned into a political game.

Cristina Jimenez, co-founder of United We Dream, which organized the vigil, came to the United States at the age of 13 with her family as they fled political turmoil in Ecuador.

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County Health Department denies immigrants bringing many diseases

Hidalgo-County-SealEddie Olivarez, health and human services chief administrative officer for Hidalgo County, denied reports that many immigrants are bringing communicable diseases such as measles and swine flu into the United States at a Tuesday meeting.

“There have been less than 10 cases of chicken pox and no cases of measles found among the immigrants processed at the McAllen immigration center,” said Olivarez, in spite of reports to the contrary by the media. “There are cases of lice and scabies people have picked up during their long walks. But those are minor problems and not life threatening. People do not need to fear some epidemic disease will start at the center and spread throughout the community.”

According to Olivarez, the doctors, nurses and nurse practitioners that are working at the center are checking people as they come in and vaccinating them against communicable diseases. But most medical care was related to cuts, sprains and bruises the people acquired walking to get to the Valley. He said the medical problems being faced are not as large as some in the media have portrayed them.

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Super Circus Heroes fly in RGV

20140711 Circus-advanceBrothers Johan and Jonathan Caro each found their partners more than a decade ago, and they all contribute in a daring performance as part of Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Presents Super Circus Heroes.

The two brothers grew up as part of the Lopez Family troupe in Monterrey, Mexico, practicing acts on the high wire and motorcycles for five hours a day. As they grew older, they toured Latin America with their family as part of the fourth generation to work in the circus.

Jonathan was the first to fall in love. It was in 2002 in Mexico, and Maria was performing a high-wire act with her family at the same circus.

Not long afterward, Johan spotted Erika in the audience in Mexico. She’s now described as the “daring beauty who stands fearlessly inside the Globe of Steel” as the two brothers on motorcycles speed within inches of her.

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County seeks to eliminate concern over immigrant diseases

Hidalgo-County-SealThere is no danger to the public from the diseases being brought into Hidalgo County by the wave of immigrants coming from Central America, Bobby Villarreal told the Hidalgo County Commissioners Court on Tuesday.

Villarreal, the county’s economic development director, said Hidalgo County has seen minimal diseases among the immigrants, and Border Patrol is having people screened for illnesses in McAllen before they were being released to go other places.

Villarreal did say additional emergency funding was needed to help the local government officials meet the influx of people coming to Hidalgo County, which has been recorded at more than 1,000 per day.

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Hidalgo County recovers body of 11-year-old Guatemalan boy

20140704 LA-JOYA Guatemalan-immigrant-childWhen Hidalgo County deputies were called to recover a dead body in the brush west of La Joya, it had been decomposing for two weeks.

The body was covered in blue jeans, black boots, a brown belt and had a white rosary around the neck. The shirt had been removed. A forensic pathologist estimated the age of the male in the late teens.

A phone number was inscribed on his belt buckle.

That number led authorities to the decedent's brother in Chicago, who said the body was 11-year-old Gilberto Francisco Ramos Juarez, of Guatemala. The clothes he was wearing matched the description of what Ramos Juarez was wearing the last time he was seen, which was 25 days prior in Reynosa. He was traveling with an uncle into the United States, but family members said the uncle was detained by Border Patrol. Ramos Juarez was released to a coyote with a big group, and authorities believe the 11-year-old was going to meet up with his brother in Chicago.

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