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Posted: Tuesday, July 3, 2001 12:00 am

Around the Valley


Man faces charges

of intoxicated assault

A 20-year-old Pharr man has been arraigned in connection with an

auto-pedestrian accident that left a 6-year-old boy in critical condition and

injured five other people.

Juan Fernando Pia on Sunday was charged with four counts of intoxicated

assault and one count of possession of marijuana. He was arraigned before

Municipal Court Judge Fernando Lopez and is being held at the Hidalgo County

Jail on $205,000 bond.

Pia is accused of hitting six pedestrians with his 1990 sedan on the 6900

block of South Cage Boulevard about 10 p.m. Saturday.

Police said Pia was southbound on Cage and struck 33-year-old Armandina

Villegas of Pharr and five children, David Villegas, 6; Marcos Villegas, 5;

Alejandra Gutierrez, 4; Joel Gutierrez, 3; and Jesus Villegas, 2, as they were

crossing Cage from east to west.

David Villegas was in critical condition Monday and the others were in stable

condition at McAllen Medical Center.

Extra officers on duty

Motorists traveling through the city beware: two extra officers per shift will

be watching the main thoroughfares this week.

Pharr police, like their peers in nearby San Juan, have advertised their

holiday operation in the hope that motorists will slow down and wear their


They said too many drivers didnt listen the last time Pharr police added

patrols during Memorial Day weekend. They ticketed 113 speeders and 68

seatbelt violators thats more than 66 percent of the speeding and seatbelt

tickets that patrol officers wrote in May.


Budget could approach $50 million

City officials have begun work on the 2001-2002 city budget, which they said

could approach $50 million.

City Manager John Milford said department directors submitted items they would

like budgeted for in the upcoming year at a workshop held on June 16.

The list of expenditures that city officials discussed included $5.1 million

in improvements to the Edinburg Airport, which would include a $4.3 million

runway extension; $2 million in equipment and vehicles for the fire

department; doubling the size of the public library; and $2 million in public

safety equipment.


Sorghum yields, prices off

About one-half of this years sorghum crop has been harvested in the Valley,

but overall production and prices are down compared to last year.

Some growers are reporting yields of 40 percent less in comparison to an

average year.

The prices arent good, either.

Last week, for example, a 100 pounds of grain sorghum went from $3.80 to


Chris Perez, executive director with the Farm Agency Service office in San

Benito, said growers have been reporting yields of 1,200 to 1,400 pounds of

sorghum per acre in the dryland and up to 3,400 pounds in the irrigated zones.

This years sorghum crop is very poor, he said. There were more acres

planted this year, but production is off.

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