A. Colleen DeGuzman

43 POSTS 0 COMMENTS
Colleen DeGuzman is a staff writer for The Monitor, covering features and general assignments. She can be reached at (956) 683-4424 or cdeguzman@themonitor.com.

DHR Health holds parade for youngsters who survived cancer

Nine-year-old Miranda Gloria’s favorite color is gold, not just because it’s the color of the sun, but because it reminds her of the strength...

Interest in homeschooling grows in distance-learning era

Families across the region are a few weeks into virtual learning, but a growing number of local parents are deciding to take matters into...

Trio of RGV natives compete in ‘American Ninja Warrior’ on NBC

There are two new ninja warriors in town. Valley natives Holly Cavazos and Gloria Orta were first-time contestants on NBC’s latest season of “American Ninja...

Edinburg CISD repurposes buses, drivers to deliver meals, school supplies 

EDINBURG — The last time Juan Heredia drove a school bus full of students, it was March. Since the pandemic hit, the school bus driver...

Community fridge looking for new home

A group of local volunteers seeking to assist with food insecurity issues is searching for a new home for its communal refrigerator, which had...

Virtual school begins for McAllen, smaller districts

Many classes are back in session as a historic virtual school year commences. Monday marks the first day for the McAllen, Roma, Valley View and...

Pre-teen unites with fellow Girl Scouts for Project Nurse Care Kit

Skyla Marroquin was so grateful for the healthcare workers who cared for her great grandmother while she fought COVID-19, that she had to do...

Pre-teen unites with fellow Girl Scouts for Project Nurse Care Kit

Skyla Marroquin was so grateful for the healthcare workers who cared for her great grandmother while she fought COVID-19, that she had to do...

$500K in federal aid secured for small businesses in Western Valley

Half-a-million dollars in federal funds have been secured for small businesses in the Rio Grande Valley to help them through the pandemic, U.S. Rep....

Best friends draw from COVID-19 experiences to start foundation

If he wasn’t reading or resting, Johnny Llanes was praying. He spent 25 days in his home office beginning July 8, the day he found...

Dietitian: Don’t let your kids forget to exercise during online learning

Going to school for local students will be just the simple act of opening a laptop or turning on a computer, at least for...

Curriculum designers explore challenges of virtual fall semester

There are new reasons to have back-to-school jitters this year. The COVID-19 pandemic has pushed Rio Grande Valley school districts to a virtual fall semester,...

Their home lost to Hanna, Raymondville family struggles to pick up the pieces

Sandra Salas’ favorite part of her trailer home in Raymondville was the prayer corner she set up in her bedroom. It was adorned with...

Sergio Muñoz Sr., former state rep ill with COVID-19, dies at 68

Former state Rep. Sergio Muñoz Sr. has died after recently becoming ill with COVID-19, the Hidalgo County Democratic Party announced via social media Thursday...

Donna ISD pushes first day of school to Sept. 8

The Donna school district postponed its first day of school to Sept. 8., adding two weeks to summer vacation to allow students and schools...

Donna schools to install a dozen Wi-Fi towers across city

The Donna school district will launch a multi-million dollar effort to install a dozen Wi-Fi towers across the city in hopes of providing internet...

Task force supports local hospital through storm, COVID-19

McALLEN — For the past week, a medical task force of dozens of personnel from across the nation have been added to McAllen Medical Center’s...

As virus complicates recruitment, Red Cross volunteers needed in Valley

A ruthless pandemic and a devastated economy make up a perfect storm already facing the Rio Grande Valley, and the South Texas American Red...

Hidalgo Co. issues shelter-at-home order as virus deaths, cases surge

As a response to the surge of COVID-19 cases and deaths in the Rio Grande Valley, Hidalgo County Judge Richard F. Cortez enacted a shelter-at-home order Monday, mandating residents to remain at home, obey curfews and wear facial coverings in public. Under the order, residents are only allowed to leave their homes for necessary reasons, or to obtain necessary resources, such as medication or doctor visits. Anyone under 17 is mandated to be accompanied by a parent or guardian while out of the house for these activities. A curfew for residents older than 18 is set from 10 p.m. to 5 a.m. Read the full story at themonitor.com.

Risks of catching COVID-19 ranked

There is a lower chance of contracting COVID-19 by picking up takeout for dinner, than sitting down at an outdoor restaurant. But eating at...

Rep. Cuellar announces funding plans for new federal courthouse 

The McAllen federal courthouse is one step closer to a much-needed renovation, U.S. Rep. Henry Cuellar said Wednesday.  Cuellar, D-Laredo, announced during a news conference Wednesday that $1 billion in the 2021 Financial Services and General Government Appropriations Bill was secured for seven courthouse renovations across the nation. If the bill is passed in the Senate, part of that funding will go toward the McAllen federal courthouse, which is currently sixth in line for construction. Read the full story at themonitor.com

Nurses bussed in, but health officials express urgency for additional staff

More space. More manpower. More relief. More diligence. These were the pleas that leaders of some of the Rio Grande Valley’s largest hospital systems made during a COVID-19 healthcare forum on Wednesday morning, continuing a chorus of concerns from local officials who are growing more alarmed at the climbing rate of cases and hospitalizations in the region. The event, which was hosted by the Edinburg Chamber of Commerce in collaboration with Doctors Hospital at Renaissance, came a day after cases and deaths jumped by 650 and 11, respectively, in the Valley — two distressing records since the first case was reported in March. Read the full story at themonitor.com

McAllen Medical pulmonologist’s advice for battling COVID-19

Since Hidalgo County reported its first case of COVID-19 in March, physicians have learned much more about how the disease attacks the body, and most importantly how people could defend themselves from it. Dr. Juan Pablo Sarmiento, a pulmonologist at McAllen Medical Center, has been treating patients with the coronavirus since the pandemic hit the county. He said he is more confident treating COVID-19 cases now than a couple months ago, when the fight against the disease was a blind battle. Read the full story at themonitor.com

Valley may see record energy consumption this summer due to heat, pandemic

The considerably cool weather that the Rio Grande Valley has seen in the past several months during the pandemic has mitigated the rise in residential energy consumption, which would otherwise be expected due to health guidelines asking residents to spend more time at home. At least that’s according to local energy officials. But if you haven’t noticed, temperatures are rising in the Valley. With summer officially starting on Saturday, temperatures already reaching the high 90s, and local governments still encouraging the community to practice social distancing, the Magic Valley Electric Cooperative is expecting an increase in its customers’ energy consumption. Read the full story at themonitor.com.

Duo arrested for suspected auto theft ring

McAllen police arrested a duo that investigators say used specialized reprogramming technology to steal vehicles across McAllen and Mission with remote entry systems. Police say...

McAllen native part of heroic El Paso trauma center team after shooting

Ten months ago, all surgeons of the University Medical Center of El Paso received a text from the chief of surgery there: “Active shooter. Anybody available return to the hospital immediately.” Dr. Alejandro Rios Tovar, a McAllen native, who since 2011 has been an associate trauma medical director at the medical center, was one of the few who got that text on Aug. 3, 2019. Tovar had just gotten home in El Paso after a 30-hour shift as the on-call surgeon the night before. On his way home, he picked up McDonald’s — something he said he does not do often — because he “just wanted to go home and pass out, and eat whatever was on the road home.” Read the full story at themonitor.com

Sleeping during the pandemic: Advice on finding rest for the restless

As anxiety caused by the coronavirus continues to build, so have problems of restlessness for some — an often ignored problem that, in turn, can affect functionality throughout the day, a local physician explained. Dr. Adolfo Kaplan, a physician at the McAllen Pulmonary and Sleep Center of the Valley, said the importance of sleep is not addressed enough. Before the pandemic, approximately 30% of the population suffered from insomnia. Cases of chronic insomnia can lead to increased chances of diabetes, cardiovascular disease and several types of dementia. Insomnia also leads to obesity. Read the full story at themonitor.com

Nonprofit continues to support students to, and through, college

The transition from high school to college can be a daunting step as it is. Now, as students also face unprecedented obstacles that the coronavirus pandemic has brought to education systems, nonprofit College Scholarship Leadership Access Program, or CSLAP, has been working to support local seniors through the process of college admissions.  Through workshops and mentorship with university students, the Rio Grande Valley-based organization works with high school juniors and seniors to  prepare them for college. Workshops cover a range of topics, including professionalism, campus policy, and budgeting.  The last several months of a school year are integral for seniors to get assistance in getting ready for university life, so CSLAP has been hosting several virtual panels to answer questions they may have. Read the full story at themonitor.com.

IDEA Quest teacher holds off on grad school plans to see students through to...

He put his own educational endeavors on hold because he wanted to see his first class of students walk the stage. Though it won’t be something he will get to be able to actually see happen anymore, Alejandro Madrigal said he would not have changed a thing — the bonds he forged with his students were more than he could have asked for. The Weslaco native graduated from the University of Texas in Austin before taking his first step in the education field as an eighth grade U.S. history teacher at IDEA Quest College Preparatory in 2015 through Teach for America. The organization places teachers in schools across the country for two years, and Madrigal was placed back in the Rio Grande Valley to teach for a couple of years before going to graduate school — at least, that was the plan. “I think other teachers could attest to this too, there is something special about the first group you teach,” Madrigal, 26, said. “So, I had to see them go all the way through, there was almost no doubt that I had to stay until I saw that happen… it was OK that my plans were put on hold for just a few years.” Read the full story at themonitor.com

Interest in cycling shifts upward as RGV stays home

When coronavirus restrictions were at their most stringent, roads emptied — along with restaurants, gyms and most other places people congregate. What stayed open, though, were sidewalks, where walkers, joggers and cyclists hit the trail in numbers some Rio Grande Valley municipalities describe as unprecedented. Representatives from the city of Mission say they lack a way to measure the increase, but they have seen a dramatic uptick in the number of residents using parks like the Mission Hike and Bike Trail. “It used to be (just) the bike clubs, competitive cyclists out there,” Recreation Director Brad Bentsen said of the five-mile route. “Now it has gone back to the old family ways. You can just go out there and observe how many people are using our bike trails — it’s all day, every day.” Read the full story at themonitor.com