Mitchell Ferman

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

Officials praise, propose tweaks to new NAFTA deal

Days away from the one-year anniversary of the Canada, United States and Mexico leaders signing a revamped North American Free Trade Agreement, Congress has still not authorized the new trade deal. Facing some pressure to call a U.S. House vote on a new agreement, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has not set a date for a vote on the United States-Canada-Mexico Agreement, the name of the new deal. Recently, officials from the Rio Grande Valley and other officials visiting the region recently have made pitches supporting the deal, as well as proposing tweaks. U.S. Rep. Henry Cuellar, D-Laredo, and U.S. Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, in a panel in Pharr this fall both supported the deal. Read the full story at themonitor.com

UTRGV President Guy Bailey to grand marshal McAllen Holiday Parade

Mayor Jim Darling and city commissioners on Tuesday announced that University of Texas Rio Grande Valley President Guy Bailey will be the grand marshal at the city's annual holiday parade on Dec. 7.   Bailey, who has lived in South Texas for just five years and who was recently named 2019 Border Texan of the Year, will be joined in the parade by Telemundo's Carolina Sandoval and Jorge Bernal, Dallas Cowboys lineman La'el Collins and former defensive end and Super Bowl XII Champion Ed "Too Tall" Jones, all of whom were announced in recent weeks. Read the full story at themonitor.com.

McAllen to host national farmworker conference

In April, the city of McAllen will host the 31st annual MAFO National Farmworker Conference, the organization announced on Wednesday. More than 400 people from across the country are expected to attend the four-day conference, including federal and state government employees, farmworker agencies and advocates and experts on health, housing, education and rural development. MAFO is a national partnership of farmworker and rural organizations, supporting and propping up migrant farmworkers, as told by State Sen. Juan “Chuy” Hinojosa, D-McAllen, who was on hand at the Wednesday press conference announcing the conference and who was a migrant farmworker growing up. Read the full story at themonitor.com

Future unclear for McAllen’s migrant aid reimbursement

In early October, U.S. Rep. Henry Cuellar announced hundreds of thousands of dollars in federal reimbursements for local governments and nonprofit organizations that cared for migrants seeking asylum in the United States along the Texas-Mexico border. None of those entities receiving money included the city of McAllen. The city is still waiting, and on Thursday, the national board for the Emergency Food and Shelter Program convened a meeting at the United Way of South Texas in McAllen in hopes of figuring out smoother methods of dispersing the $25 million in funds authorized by Congress this summer to reimburse the entities in border states. Read the full story at themonitor.com.

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 themonitor.com.

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 themonitor.com

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 themonitor.com.