By DAVID LOPEZ
The 2020s are upon us, and with the coming of a new decade comes the natural need for reflection. Here are five of the top ten stories of the decade. The top five stories will be published in the coming week.
10. Lady ’Hounds win state
In 2012, the San Benito Lady ’Hounds powerlifting team brought home a state title for the first time in San Benito High School history. The Lady ’Hounds, consisting of Alex Marmolejo, Samantha Machuca, Denise Barrera, Illeana Lopez, Emily Hernandez, Amanda Ortega, Jamie Rodriguez, and Gina Elizondo finished 18 points ahead of the second place finisher Weslaco as they sealed the state title with a total of 41 points.
“We all had to get on the same page and commit to a common goal. The girls made a lot of sacrifices…At the end of the day they had to treat this like business, likework,” said former girls powerlifting coach Mike Evans. championship.”
9. Nahomi Rodriguez’s murder case
The disappearance and eventual murder investigation of Nahomi Rodriguez, a former student of Gateway to Graduation Academy in San Benito, first came into the public eye after Rodriguez’s aunt reported the 19-year-old missing on July 2016. According to the aunt, Rodriguez disappeared after finishing her shift at McDonald’s in Harlingen around midnight. Security footage later showed Rodriguez talking to a man in a light colored early 2000s Ford Escape right before her shift was set to end. Making matters even more confusing was the fact that Rodriguez had in fact let her mom know she had found a ride and would soon be home. The valley-wide search eventually caught national attention as Nancy Grace and NBC News featured the case on their television shows. It was not until April 2017, a full nine months after she went missing, that Rodriguez’s remains were found in a ditch near Rio Hondo. Despite a $25,000 reward offered for information leading to an arrest, law enforcement have yet to find any hard evidence.
8. Police Recordings leaked
In a story that stunned residents, the San Benito Police Department received a huge hit after some of Police Chief Michael Galvan’s recorded conversations leaked to the public. Somewhere between 400 to 500 recordings were uploaded onto a computer in the San Benito Public Library. The leaks were disclosed May 25, 2017, when officials confirmed Galvan’s recordings were downloaded from the police department’s computer system. Galvan said he had privately recorded conversations to help police cases.
“I’ve recorded a lot of conversations. All police officers have,” Galvan said at the time. “Any recording is subject to being downloaded in our system.”
From there, a multi-agency investigation was launched as officials looked into the matter. Despite the huge controversy and a letter of no confidence from SBPD officers, no action was taken against Galvan as there was no indication of any wrongdoing on his part.
7. SBHS Band goes to state
In 2012, the San Benito Mighty Greyhound Band advanced to the University Interscholastic League (UIL) State Marching Competition for the first time in school history. The band advanced after placing fourth out of 42 bands that competed in the area competition at Laredo. “It is an honor to be able to represent South Texas in the state marching contest,” said former San Benito CISD Director of Bands Willie Perez in the October 31, 2012 edition of the NEWS. “We are now the best of the best.”
6. Antonio Limón suspended
Former SBCISD Superintendent of Schools Antonio G. Limón was placed on paid administrative on May 23, 2013 as per a 4-3 split vote of the Board of Trustees. The subsequent investigation began two months later despite the suspension being voted on pending the outcome of a probe.
Limón was probed for allegations that reportedly numbered more than 60 (and were eventually narrowed down to 17), but perhaps the most notable consisted of the accusation that he blocked the Harlingen Police Department investigation into Alfredo Hernandez Jr., who in 2012 served as the Berta Cabaza Middle School choir director and was charged with soliciting a minor.
The public became divided between those who supported and opposed Limón’s suspension, and all trustees involved were heavily criticized for their leanings as well.
Limón was eventually cleared of the allegations following a year-long investigation headed by a private outfit, but he said the situation took its toll up until his reinstatement in May 2014.
Limón said after the scandal that he does not hold resentment or anger toward any individual or situation, offering, “You forgive, forget, and move ahead, and you keep on going … or you’re just harming yourself.”
Editor’s note: This article has been edited for length. To read the full story, click here or make sure to grab a copy of the Jan. 3-9, 2020 issue of the NEWS.