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Summer’s last hoorah!
Fireworks from the bay to the see on Friday and Saturday nights.

Tex-Mex rocker Joe King Carrasco makes a South Padre Island stop for a show at Harpoon’s Surf Bar & Grill on Friday, Aug. 26. Performing with Carrasco will be Valley favorite and former member of Del Castillo Albert Besteiro.
A West Texas native, Carrasco developed a love for Mexico and its music early in his life and began to meld it with sounds from Texas and the border region.
“Hanging out in Mexico as a teenager and I fell in love with the music,” he said. “When I first went down there the Valley blew my mind,” he said. “I love the Valley.”
Throw the beach into the mix and out comes Carrasco’s signature sound.
“Our music is made for Padre Island,” he said.
The moving rhythms of electronic dance music will once again visit South Padre Island as the Isla Del Sol music festival returns for its third year over the Labor Day weekend.
The festival will be held over two days, with the opening concert the night of Saturday, Aug. 30 at Schlitterbahn Beach Waterpark. The second day is a VIP pool party at Peninsula Island Resort.
Headlining the Saturday night show is Above & Beyond England.
Also on the Saturday night bill are Matan Zohar, better known by his stage name Mat Zo, and from Spain 19-year-old Danny Avila.
The Sunday VIP event, which is already sold out, according to Magee, will feature bass music favorite Zomboy. Limited ickets are still available for the Saturday night performance.
Isla Del Sol tickets can be purchased at Hermes Music in McAllen and Brownsville, or online at isladelsolfest.com.
Rapper, songwriter and record producer Juicy J, a founding member of the southern hip hop group Three 6 Mafia will be joined by fellow rapper Lil’ Jon at Clayton’s Beach Bar on Saturday, Aug. 30 at 8 p.m.
This month Juicy J released “Low” featuring Nicki Minaj, Lil Bibby and Young Thug as the first single from his album “Pure THC: The Hustle Continues” that is scheduled to be out in September.
Lil’ Jon coined the term “Crunk Rock” when he released an album with that title in 2010.
So far in 2014 his single “Turn Down for What” hit the top 5 on the Dance/Electronic chart in January and the song as since peaked at number 4 on Billboard’s Hot 100.
His most recent single “Bend Ova” came out in July.
Clayton’s Beach Bar will host a free country music concert headlining the Randall King Band on Sunday, Aug 31 at 8 p.m. Also appearing will be Madelyn Victoria and Costello.
Lubbock’s Red Dirt Country artist Randall King counts top country acts like Hank Williams, George Jones, Merle Haggard and George Strait among the biggest influences in his music career.
Harlingnen native Madelyn Victoria grew up with country music and now plays shows throughout South Texas. Costello is another popular country band that performs frequently in the Rio Grande Valley.


The City of Port Isabel has begun its planned maintenance for the Lighthouse and Keeper’s Cottage, which will include repainting the buildings’ exteriors and repairing the staircases.
“The Lighthouse will receive a total restoration in and out,” said City Manager Edward Meza. “Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD) will repair the exterior railing on the top and any metal parts holding the glass and the roof.” He added that TPWD will also patch and paint the structure’s exterior white walls. “Interior work will include patching and repainting the interior walls, repairing the metal staircase and ladder, replacing any rotting wood and repainting,” he said.
Meza noted that the interior and exterior of the Keeper’s Cottage will also be renovated. The current restoration work will be part of an ongoing maintenance plan that will be provided by TPWD, Meza said.
The Keeper’s Cottage will remain closed for the next four to six months until renovations are completed. The Lighthouse will be open until TPWD requires the City to close it. Meza said the public will be informed of that decision when it is made. Informational signage has already been placed on-site to inform the public about the renovations.
A walking tour brochure has been made available for the public to use while walking around the sidewalk, outside the work area. The brochure will inform visitors of the Lighthouse’s history, the square, and other historical sites in the area, Meza said.
The Port Isabel Chamber of Commerce, which currently operates out of the Cottage, has relocated to a temporary location next to Treasures of the Gulf Museum at 302 Queen Isabella Highway.

The Port Isabel City Commission on Tuesday supported a development group’s proposal to build a 25-bed, critical care hospital in Port Isabel. The round-the-clock, critical care complex would serve residents throughout the Lower Laguna Madre and would include an imaging center where patients could receive CAT scans and PET scans, as well as classroom space for medical students to use for studying and training.
The facility would also feature a water egress to allow for emergency patients to be transported to the hospital via the water during periods of heavy auto traffic.
“The entire community needs health care,” said developer Roy Bailey, adding that the hospital would allow for up to two-day stays. Patients could take up to two days to become stabilized; at that point, if more care is needed, then the patients could be transferred to larger hospitals in either Brownsville or Harlingen.
“it’s not a long-term care facility,” Bailey said of the proposed hospital. Bailey said the hospital would likely employ 75 fulltime positions; and that part-time positions would also be available. Fellow developer Russell Salinas said the group has identified two properties in Port Isabel but he did not disclose their exact locations.
Salinas noted that an outside developer has expressed interest in building an assisted living facility near the hospital complex. Salinas then explained that the group would rely on various funding mechanisms, including: the EB-5 economic development program, the New Market Tax Credit program and third-party investors.
“I love the idea. I think it’s tremendous for the area,” said Commissioner J.J. Zamora, adding that the City should consider offering the development group a tax abatement.
Mayor Joe E. Vega replied that Rio Grande City established a hospital district and levied a small tax to help fund their hospital. The developers plan to request financial assistance from the Port Isabel Economic Development Corporation to contribute toward the feasibility study, which will cost around $50,000. Salinas said the group expects to invest between $30 and $45 million into the hospital complex.


The USS Saratoga (CV 60), a former US Navy aircraft carrier, departed Naval Station Newport in Rhode Island last week en route to the Port of Brownsville, where it will be scrapped at ESCO Marine. The journey is expected to take about 16 days to reach the Laguna Madre.
The Navy paid ESCO Marine one cent to dismantle the carrier.  ESCO will then sell the metal it salvages from the ship, which served in the Navy’s carrier fleet from 1956-94. The Saratoga was part of 22 deployments, including: serving in North Vietnam (1972-73); helping capture terrorists who hijacked the cruise ship Achille Lauro (1985); with Operation Desert Storm (1991); and in the Balkans (1992-94).
Fellow former Navy carrier the USS Forrestal was towed to the Port of Brownsville earlier this year where it was scrapped at All-Star Metals.



A tanker near Texas loaded with $100 million of disputed Iraqi Kurdish crude has disappeared from satellite tracking, the latest development in a high stakes game of cat-and-mouse between Baghdad and the Kurds.

The AIS ship tracking system used by the U.S. Coast Guard and Reuters on Thursday showed no known position for the United Kalavrvta, which was carrying 1 million barrels of crude and 95 percent full when it went dark. Several other tankers carrying disputed crude from Iran or Iraqi Kurdistan have unloaded cargoes after switching off their transponders, which makes their movements hard to track. Days ago, the partially full Kamari tanker carrying Kurdish crude disappeared from satellite tracking north of Egypt’s Sinai. It reappeared empty two days later near Israel.

And in late July, the tanker United Emblem offloaded part of its cargo of Kurdish crude onto another ship in the South China Sea. Baghdad, which says it has the exclusive right to export the crude, has filed a lawsuit in a U.S. court to reclaim control of the United Kalavrvta cargo and block the Kurdistan Regional Government from delivering it. The suit shows Baghdad is stepping up a legal and diplomatic push to stop Kurdistan from exporting crude, which the Kurds say is crucial to their own dreams of independence. The court on Monday threw out an order issued to seize the cargo, saying it lacked jurisdiction because the tanker was some 60 miles offshore. The judge has invited Iraq to re-plead its case over the rightful ownership of the cargo. Baghdad could file claims against anyone taking delivery of the oil.

A Coast Guard official said the vessel in the Gulf of Mexico might have turned off its beacon, sailed beyond antennas that monitor transponders, or perhaps some antennas might have been taken out of service. However, dozens of vessels were visible on Thursday in the Galveston Offshore Lightering Area, where the Kurdish tanker was last seen.


Reporting By Terry Wade and Anna Louie Sussman. Editing by Andre Grenon

Paragon D&E, a Grand Rapids, Michigan-based company that is already a certified supplier to SpaceX, announced it has purchased the assets of Rio Grande Tool Co. in Brownsville and plans rapid expansion of its new operations here. Paragon designs, engineers and manufactures highly complex tooling systems for a customer base that includes the automotive and heavy truck industries, aerospace, agriculture and oil and gas. Paragon said it has broadened its involvement in commercial and defense aerospace in the last five years.

Andrew Samrick, the company’s managing director for advanced manufacturing, said the Michigan facility currently works on bolt systems that hold SpaceX rocket segments together. While he said it’s not yet clear what role Paragon will play in servicing SpaceX, or Space Exploration Technologies Inc., in Brownsville, Samrick said the firm is “fairly confident” its expertise and services will be relevant during construction of the launch site — and beyond. “Right now, we don’t know,” he said. “We have to see how we can help them.”

Steve Clark

As the summer kicks off and the sun begins to sizzle, plans for the inaugural beer festival in South Padre Island begin to brew. The South Padre Island Convention Centre will host the Beer Fest, which will take place from 6pm to midnight, Saturday August 23rd.
A portion of the funds raised during the evening’s event will aid to continue the mission of Sea Turtle, Inc.
SPI Beer Fest will showcase more than 200 beers, ranging in styles, flavors, and breweries. Due to recent rise in craft and specialty beers, SPI Beer Fest promised to give the public a one-of-a-kind opportunity to sample a wide range of beers, speak first-hand to brew masters, and learn about the art of home brewing.
Coupled with great live music and exquisite cuisine from all of the Rio Grande’s most popular restaurants, SPI Beer Fest is well on its way in becoming not just a staple in the community, but a favorite among festival goers across the nation.
Besides sipping on a vast selection of beer and feasting on Valley delicacies, SPI Beer Fest attendees will be submerged into a medley of top local entertainment like The Browns Villians, Chris Marshall, Rockstar Denied, Tragedy N April, Moonstar, Issac & the Gentlemen, and Country favorite Costello.
Along with this amazing entertainment line up, the SPI Beer Fest is proud to announce Clarissa Serna as its headliner. Serna was featured in this season of NBC’s top-rated and nationally acclaimed The Voice and was part of Team Shakira.
Tickets are still available at various Island retailers or online at spibeerfest.com

The South Padre Island City Council on Wednesday accepted more than $2 million in grant funding to develop a multi-modal transit facility at the entrance to the Island. TxDOT awarded the City five separate grants through federal, rural transportation programs, the transit facility, upon completion, will serve as headquarters for the WAVE bus system, carpool “rideshare” services will also be made available at the new facility.
In other business, the Council:
Approved a $417,013 budget amendment to go toward Gulf Boulevard Improvement Project.
Approved a lease agreement with Cameron County Elections Administration for the lease of one AutoMark election machine to be used for the General and Special Election Nov 4.
Approved contracting with AEP Texas Central Company for a temporary staging area at the northern parking lot of the Convention Centre to provide electric delivery service during emergency conditions.
Held public hearings to discuss the proposed 2014-15 Five-Year Capital Improvement Plan for the City of SPI; the proposed FY2014-15 budget; and for the first reading of the proposed amendments to the Planned Development District Standards, Specifications and Zoning for The Shores; no one spoke either for or against.
Approved a payment of an invoice from Gignac & Associates Architects for the Convention Centre Renovation Project.
Approved payment of the invoices to Broadduss and Associates for services rendered in January and February.
Considered accepting assistance – in goods and services – to the SpaceX launch facility on Boca Chica Beach.
Adopted a budget amendment for $5,008 for insurance proceeds associated with the center median repairs.
Authorized City Manager William DiLibero to execute an interlocal cooperation contract with the University of Texas-Brownsville to fund the graduate position during the 2014-15 fiscal year.
Approved executing an interlocal agreement with the Laguna Madre Water District to clean city water drains.

It’s not too late to go fishing and donate money to a worthy cause all at the same time.
Anglers can still sign up for the ninth annual Fishing for Hope Tournament on Saturday to benefit the HopeFamilyHealthCenter in McAllen. All they have to do is go to Louie’s Backyard, 2305 Laguna Blvd. from 5:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. tonight. Late registration fee is $40, plus $125 per angler.
The tournament, which is being hosted by Doctors Hospital at Renaissance in Edinburg, begins at 6 a.m. Saturday and continues until 3 p.m. Weigh-ins begin at noon at Louie’s, said Elisa Mares, community event coordinator for DHR.
More than 800 people have signed up for the event. “The anglers can dock out of anywhere,” she said. “It does not have to be Louie’s Backyard.” However, Louie’s is where the weigh-ins will be, and other events will happen later in the day.
The Doctors Hospital website says the annual “Fishing for Hope” tournament has raised more than $1 million for the Hope Family Health Center in the past nine years.

Travis M. Whitehead


The Port Isabel City Commission, at a special meeting Monday, authorized Port Isabel Economic Development Corporation to apply for approximately $2.4 million of loan funds through the Office of the Governor to develop a culinary arts institute.
The funding would be doled out over a 15-year period with no prepayment penalty to be used for re-purposing the Yacht Club Hotel and restoring the landmark to its original glory.
The proposed facility will include five classrooms and three kitchens for the culinary program. The fully-accredited institute is expected to create new jobs; and the school is projected to serve between 92 to 115 full-time students.
Construction/renovation plans call for: structural repairs to the foundation; floor; roof framing.