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Closner Blvd during rush hour
Closner Blvd, as shown Tuesday afternoon before it was permanently closed to through traffic at midnight.

Pardon our dust: Closner closed to through traffic at midnight

As the flashing signs have been promising, Closner Blvd. where it bisects the courthouse square will be closed to through traffic beginning at midnight as construction on the new Courthouse gears up.

Travelers heading south on Closner will be required to turn on east or west McIntyre, drivers heading north on Closner will need to turn left or right on Cano St. Only the Courthouse Shuttle and law enforcement vehicles will be allowed access to the Sally Port area, said County Executive Officer Valde Guerra.

"We have publicized the upcoming closure of Closner Blvd for over a month in order to provide Hidalgo County residents ample time to prepare for it," said Guerra. "The barriers go up tonight and the street will be officially closed at midnight."

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Families of murdered victims
Sept. 25 is National Day of Remembrance for Murder Victims.

Remembering murder victims and their families

A group of brave survivors of murdered victims tightly grasped photographs of their loved ones and stood before Commissioners Court to honor the lives of the victims.

As photographs of murder victims were shown on the monitors, Public Affairs Director Julia Sullivan read the proclamation declaring September 25 as National Day of Remembrance for Murder Victims and encouraged all Hidalgo County residents to join in planned activities.

“The murder of a loved one robs the victim’s family of a mother, father, sister, brother, son, daughter, husband, wife, partner, grandparent, aunt, uncle, extended family member, friend, neighbor, or colleague, and creates an overwhelming challenge to fill the void their absence creates,” said Sullivan.

Survivors of homicide victims want their murdered children to be valued, regardless of the circumstances surrounding their deaths. 

“The day my brother was taken from me, is the day the journey begin, and here we stand now,” said Robert Garcia, representing Families and Friends of Murdered Children, Inc. “Together, through the resilience of these people standing before you, I was given the strength and courage to move on.”

According to Garcia, in 2017, there were an estimated 17,250 homicides nationwide, which equals to one murder every 33.5 minutes in the United States. That national figure includes 34 homicides in the Rio Grande Valley.

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Voter Awarness Month
L-R Elections Analyst Hilda Salinas; Commissioners Joe M. Flores, Pct. 3; Eduardo "Eddie" Cantu, Pct. 2; and David L. Fuentes, Pct. 1; AACT Project Coordinator Albert Morales and AACT Database Outreach Manager Carlos Martinez.

County encourages voter registration

With only 49 days until the November 2018 elections, Commissioners Court is helping get the word out by declaring September 2018 as Valley Voter Awareness Month. 

According to the Elections Department, Hidalgo County has 358,213 registered voters, a growth of 10 percent in four years. This increase proves that there is a continuing need to work together as a community to increase participation in the electoral process in Hidalgo County and the Rio Grande Valley. 

"This month and every month, we celebrate our democracy and the ability to exercise our right to vote," said Elections Analyst Hilda Salinas. "We ask citizens to help those who lack transportation and/or are disabled." 

In order to reach those who have not fully embraced their rights and responsibilities as citizens, the Elections Department is partnering with AACT Now to expand opportunities for voter education and nonpartisan voter registration. Collaboration with grassroots organizations, the media, with educational, cultural, and religious institutions, both the public and private sector, will help our county reach every available voter, said AACT Project Coordinator Albert Morales.

The deadline to register to vote in the 2018 November General election is Oct. 9. If you have questions on how or where to register, please call the Elections Department at (956) 318-2570 or visit

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Manufacturing Month

Manufacturing Month celebrated in Hidalgo County 

For generations, manufacturing has played a critical role in Texas’ diverse economy.  Texas is home to approximately 17,500 manufacturing firms, 80 of which are located in Hidalgo County, said Mike Willis, executive director of South Texas Manufacturers Association.

“Thank you for having us here today,” said Willis. “We’re honored to stand before you and would like to announce our partners with the Pharr Economic Development Corporation, PSJA ISD, and South Texas College; without our partners, we wouldn’t be able to be here sharing our accomplishments with you.”

Texas manufacturers employ 6.98 percent of the workforce, an estimated 875,000 manufacturing employees, including 7,500 in Hidalgo County.

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Pablo "Paul" Villarreal with staff
Tax Assessor Collector Pablo "Paul" Villarreal Jr. with staff.

Tax report shows county growth

Tax officials reported that, for a county the size of Hidalgo, the percentage of residents who pay their taxes within the first six months of the year is outstanding.

Tax Assessor & Collector Pablo “Paul” Villarreal Jr. and his staff presented the 2017-2018 Annual Tax Collections Reports for the county, they focused on the collection of current and delinquent tax collections.
“We are proud that we collected $6.9 million above last year’s collection,” said Villarreal.
Michael Gene Cano, a partner at Linebarger Attorneys At Law, said the county did a good job collecting taxes.
“You’re collecting 95 percent of tax bills up front, and that’s impressive,” said Cano.
Tax Office Motor Vehicle Manager Santos Castilleja also gave a presentation on revenue collections for the Motor Vehicle Department.  Collections include vehicle registration renewals and title transfers. 

Castilleja said that renewals are able to be completed online.  
“If you’re unable to make it to one of our tax offices, we encourage you to follow-up online; taxpayers can save $1.00 by doing so.”

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Attention Veterans

Bravo Zulu: "Well Done"

Hidalgo County Community Service Agency Director Jaime Longoria invited honorably discharged veterans living in the county to apply for funds dedicated to helping low income veterans with their utility bills.

The program is a part of the Operation Bravo Zulu grant.

"In the military, Bravo Zulu means job well done," said Longoria. 

To qualify, a veteran must fall 200 percent below the Federal Poverty Line, said Longoria as he shared a flyer that provides more details on the program.

For more information call the Community Service Agency at (956) 383-6240.

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Moment of Silence

A Moment of Silence was held in honor of a dedicated volunteer to the County's Operation Lone Star in providing free medical services valued at about $3 million. Mr. Stan Brock, who founded Remote Area Medical Volunteer Corps, provided free dental and vision exams, including free prescription eye glasses, said Health and Human Services Officer Eddie Olivarez.

"He passed away recently and will be greatly missed," said Olivarez.

Moment of Silence

Did you miss today's meeting? Watch it at 9 p.m. Thursday on KMBH Ch. 10 or on the county's YouTube Channel!
If you missed today's meeting, you can view it on our county website or YouTube Channel by clicking hereYou can also watch today's Commissioners Court and Drainage District meetings on KMBH TV, cable channel 10, on Thursday at 9 p.m. Or watch it on Friday morning at 9 a.m. on your local school district channel 17.

The next regular meeting of Commissioners Court  will be on Thursday, September 20 at 3:00 p.m
 Meetings are held in the Commissioners Courtroom, located on the first floor of the Court house Annex III at 100 E. Cano St. in Edinburg.  

View meetings and find other news and events videos on our
Hidalgo County YouTube Channel.
To view a copy of the agenda and related backup documentation for this meeting, visit the county website at
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