The most popular stories on ValleyStar.com in 2018

Weather is one of those news events that impacts everyone … the heat in the Valley is unbearable, you’re stuck inside because it’s too cold or you get caught out in the rain. Anytime it rained in 2018 the weather stories were among the most viewed of the year.

In a 72-hour period in early June 14.65 inches of rain fell in the Harlingen area and left homes, cars and streets flooded as a slow-moving tropical disturbance stalled over the Rio Grande Valley.

Later that month, additional flooding forced the closure of local businesses, summer school classes and college campuses. The June 21 flooding caused widespread street flooding on Loop 499, Ed Carey Drive, Wilson Road, Stuart Place Road and the surrounding areas.

The arrival of new businesses and the closure of others drew readers to our website. When Dillard’s decided in August to change its location at Valle Vista Mall from a department store to clearance center many readers were upset, while others looked forward to great deals on clothing.

The sale of the mall worried shoppers who wondered if the entire mall would be closed, but our story a few months later with the mall’s new owner excited readers with his vision to reinvent the shopping center.

Other business stories that appealed to readers were the arrival of Frontier Airlines to Valley International Airport, a new retail center planned for the resaca waterfront in San Benito, plus the opening of Raising Canes, Taco Palenque and the soon to arrive Panda Express on Business 77.

In health news, Valley Baptist Medical Center was designated a level III trauma center in February and during Sepsis Awareness Month in September many readers discussed their recovery with the life threatening illness.

“Understanding the warning signs and symptoms of Sepsis is critically important to preventing organ and tissue damage,” said Dr. Christopher David Romero, Internal Medicine Specialist for VBMC-Harlingen.

The columns written by Pastor Bill Reagan of Loaves & Fishes always make readers think and remain relevant. He wrote “Poverty is a tough and persistent challenge for the Rio Grande Valley” in 2017 and “Obesity is a problem in RGV” in 2015, and they were both still widely read this year.

Our Slice of Life feature has been around for decades and is always a favorite of readers. This year the profiles of those living on a farm and involved in agriculture were the most popular. They included the story on Rangerville agriculture teacher Chuck Vieh, Rio Hondo FFA student and senior class president Rebecca Johnston, and Ty Rhyner, a starting lineman for the Rio Hondo Bobcats who, with his brother, opened a his own cotton harvesting company while he was a freshman in high school.

The authors of our Letters to the Editor always have something to share with the community. This year Frank Garcia’s letter in opposition of U.S. Senate candidate Beto O’Rourke was the most read, followed by Jim Griffin Jr. and his letter in support of the proposed LNG plants to be built at the Port of Brownsville.