Mitchell Ferman

Mitchell Ferman covers the city of McAllen and cross-border trade and politics for The Monitor. He can be reached at or (956) 683-4474.

CBP to inspect tomatoes at international bridges for virus

Beginning on Friday, federal authorities will increase inspections on imported tomatoes and peppers entering the United States at all ports of entry, including at...

Long way to go for full service commercial truck traffic at Anzalduas Bridge

Mayor Jim Darling stared into the distance and shook his head. He took off his glasses and rubbed his face. A city engineer had just told the board of directors for the Anzalduas International Bridge at their monthly meeting on Monday that the design and environmental study for commercial traffic at the bridge would take 12 months. Darling then asked the engineer what coordination there needs to be with Mexican officials about the process for commercial implementation. “That’s something we didn’t discuss,” the engineer said. Read the full story at

Young lawyers of Texas meet, volunteer in McAllen 

  McALLEN — Nearly 40 young lawyers from across Texas on Saturday walked into the migrant respite center in downtown McAllen to make sandwiches for...

McAllen moving on northward expansion of Bicentennial Blvd.

Construction is imminent north of the intersection of Bicentennial Boulevard and Trenton Road, where crews are expected to break ground in the coming weeks for a 2.8-mile extension of Bicentennial Boulevard from Trenton Road to State Highway 107. City officials had estimated the construction would cost roughly $19 million. Texas Cordia Construction, LLC., of Edinburg, submitted a $12.6 million bid that surprised city officials to the extent to City Manager Roel “Roy” Rodriguez recommending to city commissioners at a commission meeting on Monday to vote on the contract not by indicating “yes” or “no.” “Our recommendation is going to be applause,” said Rodriguez, smiling. Read the full story at

Alyssa Milano tours migrant respite center with Rep. Gonzalez

Actress gets firsthand look BY MITCHELL FERMAN STAFF WRITER McALLEN — For years, actress Alyssa Milano has advocated publicly for human rights, gun safety and progressive climate...

McAllen OKs $1 million for UTRGV medical school research

McAllen City commissioners this week authorized a $1 million payment for the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley’s School of Medicine, and the money is specifically allocated for the school’s new cancer research program. Commissioners unanimously approved the funds, which were budgeted. Commissioner Veronica Whitacre recused herself from the vote and did not participate in conversation about the medical school payment, as Whitacre has done in previous years. It was the first time in years the measure was passed smoothly. In 2014, McAllen and other surrounding city councils pledged to annually pay UTRGV for its medical school. McAllen’s memorandum of understanding with UTRGV reads: “on or about Oct. 15, each year from 2014 to 2023, the city shall pay/transfer/provide to The University of Texas System up to $2,000,000.” Read the full story at

McAllen authorizes $1 million for UTRGV medical school research

McALLEN — City commissioners this week authorized a $1 million payment for the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley’s School of Medicine, and the...

Officials: Local economy is heading in right direction but obstacles remain

McALLEN — Unemployment has hovered around 4%, a low for the region. Sales tax revenues hit a record year, eclipsing $63 million. Multiple bridges have brought in millions year after year for the city, too. The city of McAllen has seen swells across various segments of its economy recently, city leaders raved at an economic forum this week at the Chamber of Commerce. McAllen Mayor Jim Darling ticked off various points of pride about the city’s economy, and noted that the city’s population balloons during weekdays, with 25% of the people who work here not living in the city. But the city’s economy isn’t where it should be yet, Darling said. Read more at

As produce season begins, truckers reminded about permits

PHARR — A flurry of commercial trucks drive through South Texas, often going to or coming from Mexico. In hopes of keeping communities safe and streets in decent condition, authorities have established weight and size regulations, along with certain corridors that the trucks are allowed to drive. With the produce season launching earlier this month and the Pharr-Reynosa International Bridge being the top produce port of entry in the United States, authorities have stopped several overweight trucks carrying produce in the Rio Grande Valley. On Thursday, bridge officials held one of its periodic seminars for the cross-border trade industry, free to attend and to hear from officials on both sides of the border pertaining to a particular issue. Thursday’s was about overweight trucks, led by Fred Brouwen and Freddy Flores of the Pharr bridge, who typically run these regular seminars that cover a range of trade-industry topics. Read more at

Pharr adds 2 assistant city managers

For years, the city manager in Pharr has had one deputy. Now there will be two additional assistant city managers, as Human Resources Director Anali Alanis and City Clerk Hilda Pedraza have been promoted to assistant city manager positions, joining Deputy City Manager Ed Wylie as the senior leadership of the roughly 650 city employees in Pharr, overseen by City Manager Alex Meade. “These types of leaders are always learning, growing and adapting to a fast-paced and ever-changing environment,” Pharr Mayor Ambrosio “Amos” Hernandez said this week. “Their leadership is the key to our success and sustainability and will keep Pharr moving forward across generations of administrations.” Read the full story at