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Kinney County continues being hotspot for human smuggling

The Kinney County Sheriff’s Department reported that two individuals believed to be undocumented immigrants involved in a high speed chase died in a vehicle rollover accident on Sunday morning.The Kinney County Sheriff Department stated that Deputies were involved in a high speed vehicle chase on Ranch Road 674.

The driver of the vehicle is reported to have lost control and rolled the vehicle over.Authorities state that two individuals believed to be undocumented immigrants died in the tragic accident.

“With the increasing number of aliens smugglers attempting to out run law enforcement it was just a matter of time before there was a fatality,” wrote the Kinney County Sheriff Department.

With this accident, once again Kinney County resources were stretched thin. Deputies, EMS, Fire and Rescue, and DPS all responded.The area was closed down for most of the day as an investigation was conducted.

The Kinney County Sheriff’s Department added that the driver fled the scene on foot but has been identified.

“Kinney County Deputies and Border Patrol are actively searching for him. It’s just a matter of time before he is arrested.”Two days earlier, the Kinney County Sheriff’s Department posted online that they had multiple alien smuggling incidents in a span of 14 hours.

“The invasion continues…. From 2:00AM to 4:00 PM today (7/23/2020), there have been 6 alien smuggling events apprehended by Kinney County Deputies, Border Patrol, Texas DPS and Edwards County SO.

In two of these cases stolen vehicles were being used. Fortunately there were no pursuits in any of these cases,” wrote the Kinney County Sheriff’s Department.Tragically, a chase occurred on Sunday which ended with the death of two individuals.

The Kinney County area has become a hotspot for human trafficking in the last year. There have been numerous incidents where law enforcement officials Including the US Border Patrol have been involved in high speed chase and crashes.

Locally 1 out every 37.5 people per capita infected with Covid

Statistically, 1 out of every 37.5 persons per capita has tested positive for Covid-19 in Maverick County.

The total amount of population according to the United States Census Bureau (2019 estimated figure) is at 58,722. Up to date there are 1,554 people in Maverick County that have tested positive for Covid-19.

Local health officials have tested 10,108 people or 17.2 percent of our entire population (58,722). Of those 7,966 people have tested negative for Covid-19.

As of Friday, July 24 there are 1,554 people infected with Covid-19.

729 of those people have been deemed recovered. There are 799 active cases.

Tragically, the death total is at 26 with two other deaths being investigated to determine if they were Covid-19 Virus related.

Officials state that there are 588 tests results pending.

Up to this point there are approximately 50 people hospitalized due to the Covid-19 Virus at the Fort Duncan Regional Medical Centers

Mother and Child Injured in Mobile Home Fire

A mother and her young child were injured in a house fire that occurred in the Eagle Heights Subdivision of our community.

The Eagle Pass Fire Department and Maverick County Sheriff’s Department responded to an emergency call regarding a house on fire in the 3200 block of La Palma St. on Saturday, July 25.

Upon arriving at the scene, they encountered a mobile home that was fully engulfed in flames.

A family of four including a 22-year-old female, her two children, and stepfather had been inside the trailer when the blaze broke out.

Luckily, family members were able to rescue the mother and her kids.

The area was quickly quartened off by law enforcement officials while EPFD proceeded to work on putting out the fire.

EPFD EMS personnel began to assist the family of four including a 22-year-old female her two children and stepfather.

The mother and her 18-month-old child were transported to the Fort Duncan Regional Medical Centers Emergency Room for further treatment and evaluation.

They would eventually be taken to a San Antonio Hospital for treatment of the injuries sustained in the tragic fire.

Reports state that the Female suffered from smoke inhalation and possible internal injuries.

The young child sustained 2nd degree burns to approximately 50 percent of his body including the back, and lower extremities.

The cause of the fire upon initial Investigations is being determined, caused by an electrical shortage.

Eagle Pass Fire Chief Manuel Mello states that the mobile home sustained total damages.

The family of the victims has set up a GoFundMe account for any type of assistance.


High Winds cause power outage

As of 9:25 pm there are about 50 persons without power from the Seco Mines Sector up to Quemado in Maverick County.

As per AEP the outage will be resolved between 11pm and 1 am.

Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation ends, thousands left unsure about COVID and workplace safety

Thousands of unemployed community residents have received their final $600 Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation Check on Friday, July 25.

Back in the month of March, the Federal Government approved the FPUC assistance measure as part of a $2 trillion economic aid package which is scheduled to expire on Friday, July 31st. Payments are only provided for weeks ending on either Saturday or Sunday which would only cover up until the 25th.

The Texas Workforce Commission has issued out a reminder to claimants that the Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation (FPUC) ends the week of July 25, 2020.

The Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation (FPUC) provided an additional $600 per week to claimants who lost work as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Texans will continue to receive state unemployment benefits for the remainder of their claim.

For those on regular unemployment that is currently up to a potential 59 weeks and 46 weeks for those on Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA).

The length of time benefits are available is subject to an individual’s eligibility as well as state economic indicators.

Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation was passed as part of the CARES Act. The program provides federal reimbursement to states for an additional $600 per week. A full benefit week begins on Sunday and ends on Saturday.

The Act states that the program ends July 31, but benefits must be discontinued before the end of the month because by law TWC cannot pay partial week benefits. The last full benefit week for the extra $600 is the week ending July 25th.

As a result, only payment requests for weeks ending on or before July 25 can include the additional $600.

State unemployment benefits will continue to be paid after this date, they simply will not include the additional $600 anymore.

Other provisions of the federal act do not expire until December 26, 2020. This includes Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC), which provides an extra 13 weeks of benefits to persons who exhaust traditional benefits, and Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA), which provides up to 46 weeks of benefits to persons who are self-employed or who would not otherwise qualify for state benefits.

It’s a bitter pill to swallow as the federal assistance has been helping out approximately 7,531 people in the community in accordance to the current unemployment rate of 22%. There are approximately 34,235 people of the working age in our community which would mean that about 7,531 are currently unemployed. Unemployment claims due to the Covid-19 Pandemic were automatically qualified for the Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation which was added on top of State unemployment totals.

The end of this program is certainly going to set back a lot of families and negatively impact the local economy of up to $4,518,600 less going around on a weekly basis.

These emergency unemployment benefits have been helping families and keeping the economy above water but are now coming to an end.

Ending the assistance will surely set back the economic recovery effort and leave millions of Americans in a very tough situation including those receiving the benefits in Maverick County.

Tri County area sees 463 Covid cases increase in a week

The Tri County are which includes Maverick, Dimmit, and Zavala Counties had an increase of 463 Covid-19 Virus cases in a span of one week.

From July 17 through July 24, Maverick County had an increase of 385 cases going from 1,169 to 1,554 positive Covid-19 cases a 33 percent increase. That averages out to 55 new Covid-19 cases per day for 7 days straight.

In Dimmit County there were 49 new cases going from 41 to 90.

Zavala County had 29 new cases going from 121 to 150.

Main Street Program exploring the viability of a drive in theater in the downtown area

The Eagle Pass Main Street Program is beginning to explore a Drive in theater project in the downtown area.

The idea is currently in the exploration stages and could take up to 10 to 12 months to review.

The Eagle Pass Main Street Program posted a request for feedback on their official Facebook page.

The question has received more than 500 answers and suggestions which will now be used to continue exploring putting together a proposal for the possible project.

This is nothing concrete at this time but wouldn’t be a bad idea since drive in theaters have been making a comeback all across the Nation.

Eagle Pass, many years ago had a drive in theater which was a very popular place for families to go visit and catch a movie.

The area that could possibly be used is the Shelby Park near the banks of the Rio Grande River.

Sheriff’s Deputy tests positive for COVID-19

Maverick County Sheriff Tom Schmerber reported that a Sheriff deputy has tested positive for Covid 19.

Schmerber stated that the Individual contracted the Virus through family spread and is under quarantine at the time.

Schmerber added that the squadron and others from the department who have contact with the deputy have been tested and have all come back negative.

Convalescent Plasma is needed for COVID treatment

Currently there has been a tremendous amount of patients at the FDRMC and while the community waits for Remdesivir a new drug on trial used to treat the symptoms of COVID, health experts have also suggested another treatment, convalescent plasma.

This is plasma obtained from those who had COVID-19 and have recovered. This plasma in theory is said to contain antibodies that help fight off the virus which causes COVID.

A special call out to all the citizens who have been cleared by the local health authority please consider donating plasma at Grifols.

Also please call 1-866-END-CV19 for further guidance and potential donors will be pre-screened and referred to our center.

Please share this information and remember that you can save a life.


School officials announce plan of action for new school year

The Eagle Pass Independent School District officially delayed the start of school by two weeks and will begin the school year under Remote Instruction. Classes were supposed to begin on August 17 but are now set for August 31st.

The EPISD Board of Trustees met on Monday, July 20 and approved to delay the opening of EPISD schools for two weeks and subject to possible action at a later date to further day delay the start of school.

EPISD officials Including Superintendent Samuel Mijares and Board members Jorge Barrera, Chris Hiller, and Hilda Martinez Caballero held a joint conference with local officials, Maverick County Judge David Saucedo and Eagle Pass Mayor Luis Sifuentes where they informed the community of the plan of action being taken for the upcoming School year.

We will be suspending classes for the first two weeks and will start on August 31st. We will be 100 % online. That way we maintain student safety as our first priority. Employees will go back to work at a later date,” said Superintendent Mijares.

Mijares then explained that on August 3rd employees will receive further instructions through an email regarding their work calenders.

The School District met with public officials and the Emergency Operation Center last week when a plan of action was discussed and agreed upon.

Mijares further explained that all indoor sports extracurricular activities and practices have been cancelled.

Football practices will come to an end on Thursday.

Band practices will be done virtually.

Mijares stated that the school district will be issuing a Chromebook to every student and is working with the state to assure a hotspot to those students that may not have access to internet services.

Registrations online started on Monday, July 20.