Proclamation declaring World Read Aloud Day will promote literacy countywide

Commissioners Court unanimously passed a proclamation declaring Feb. 1 as World Read Aloud Day to promote literacy, with observances held on both Jan. 31 and throughout the month of February.

Accepting the Proclamation was McAllen Public Library Director and President of the Hidalgo County Library System Kate Horan where she encouraged all citizens to read aloud and to take advantage of county's E-Library, an online collection of books, audiobooks, and magazines launched back in August 2017.

Since its launch, usage has skyrocketed. Checkouts have increased by 1,972 percent and registered users have increased by 446 percent, with an average of 325 new registered users per quarter.

"Reading aloud to children improves their vocabulary so they can become good communicators and do better in school," said Horan.

Celebrated globally, World Read Aloud Day is an ongoing effort advocating for literacy as a human right.

Hidalgo County Judge Richard F. Cortez will join McAllen Mayor Jim Darling and others in reading aloud to children at the McAllen Public Library on Jan. 31. at 6 p.m.

"This is a great honor," Cortez said. "I look forward to the opportunity in reading to the children of Hidalgo County."

E-Library is a major initiative to promote literacy and demonstrate a commitment to providing literacy opportunities to residents of all ages and abilities, giving them the opportunity to download and read books anywhere they can access the Internet.

"We will be reaching out to all the Commissioners to invite them to read aloud at various locations," said Horan.


Criminal District Attorney's Office will implement tool to identify commercially sexually exploited children

A Memorandum of Understanding between the DA's office and West Coast Children's Clinic approved at today's meeting will include the implementation of a screening tool to screen at-risk youth for child sexual exploitation.

"The University of Texas estimates that there are approximately 79,000 children and youth in Texas who are survivors of sex trafficking; however, only hundreds of these victims are actually identified across the state each year," reported Victims Unit Director Rosie Martinez.

The DA's office is using this best practice model that the Child Sex Trafficking Team of the Office of the Governor of Texas has selected for implementation by grantees and partners in an effort to form a regionalcontinuum of care for child sex trafficking victims.

"This valuable tool will assist the efforts put forth through our office to combat sexually exploited children," said Martinez.

The Governors office is strongly encouraging all agencies and organizations that may come into contact with child sex trafficking victims to consider implementing the CSE-IT tool. The Texas Juvenile Justice Department and the Texas Department of Family & Protective Services have also committed to implementing the tool.


Meet Pct. 4 Constable's office newest canine officer, Miho

Miho, a 4-year old Shepherd bred for police work will join forces with the Hidalgo County Precinct 4 office.

The canine will be donated to support the ongoing efforts from Pct. 4 in keeping the community safe.

"I believe Miho will be an asset to your office and will be an added tool to assist your deputies in performing police functions," said canine donor Francisco J. Guerrero.

Miho is valued at approximately $6,500 and has been paid from by Kreative Kennels in San Francisco, California.