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Government
Victoria County Commissioners Court to consider supporting Gov. Abbott's request for federal funds to cover border costs
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The Victoria County Commissioners Court will consider a resolution supporting Gov. Greg Abbott’s recent letter requesting the federal government pay for all costs related to securing the border borne by the State.

In March, border crossings jumped to the highest level seen in at least 15 years, according to multiple news outlets. In his letter, Abbott called this increase “a direct result of federal policies” and has asked for a full reimbursement by the federal government for the increased costs accrued.

Citing an increase in crimes in the area, the court’s resolution will support Abbott’s request.

The Advocate has reported on several incidents possibly related to immigrant smuggling according to local law enforcement, including multiple chases and a woman found dead along a Goliad County highway in March. She was later identified as a Honduran citizen.

The Court will also hear an update from the Victoria County Sheriff’s Office. In early April, Sheriff Justin Marr gave a presentation on an increase in human smuggling incidents in the Crossroads area.

As of April 5, deputies had responded to at least eight incidents this year believed to be related to the smuggling of immigrants who were in the country illegally.


Education
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Education
VISD receives best community for music designation
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Patti Welder Middle School band students tapped their feet before inhaling a deep breath. With their exhale, the room filled with music.

The students rehearsed their scales and several pieces of music during their Thursday morning band class.

The Victoria school district recently received the best communities for music education designation from the National Association of Music Merchants Foundation for outstanding commitment to music education.

This is the third consecutive year the district received the designation.

To qualify for the designation, Victoria officials answered detailed questions about funding, graduation requirements, music class participation, instruction time, facilities, support for the music programs, and community music-making programs. Responses were then reviewed by The Music Research Institute at the University of Kansas.

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Patti Welder band director Jennings Gonzalez said the designation speaks to the commitment of educators, students and administration.

“We just have some amazing students and parents and families that support it,” she said. “From the top down, it’s supported and we know it’s important to everybody.”

Gonzalez said the district does a great job allowing students to venture and try multiple extracurriculars like band, sports and choir at the same time.

For example, several Victoria West High School varsity football players are also part of the school band, Gonzalez said.

“We do a really good job of letting kids be involved in many different things,” she said.

Music goes beyond teaching kids how to read and perform music but it also teaches students valuable life skills.

It teaches students how to work as a team and create a product, Gonzalez said. Kids today like to see instant results, but with music it takes time and practice to master an instrument or a piece of music.

During rehearsal Thursday, the students put in practice on several pieces of music including the theme songs to “Pirates of the Caribbean” and the “Avengers.”

The students shuffled through their sheets of music as Gonzalez called out the next piece. She tapped her baton to the music stand at the front of the room.

Remember to get loud there, she said to the brass section during rehearsal.

For eighth grader Reyes Alvarez, 15, this is his third year as part of the band. He plays bass clarinet. He hopes to continue his music education in high school while also playing sports.

Reyes started band when he was in sixth grade because his older brother was in the band, he said.

“It’s fun,” he said.

The music is Reyes’ favorite part of band class, and he enjoys being challenged. The music is either boring and easy or interesting and challenging.

“Our band, we’re always interested in new music,” he said. “We’re interested in how it sounds.”


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Business
New boutique moves to Southside
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A new boutique has arrived in Victoria and is adding to the Southside’s development.

HarCo at Home opened Saturday to a steady crowd in its new location, 505 E. Juan Linn St. It offers curated boutique items for sale — some of which sold out Saturday.

The name came to owner Bianca Smiley as a combination of her children’s names, Harlyn and Colston. The entire business and its name are “all about family,” she said.

HarCo began May 2020 in a smaller in-person marketplace among other vendors in Sugar Land. Smiley said she moved to Victoria because she was ready for a full-size brick and mortar store closer to home.

The store’s inventory is centered around children’s, women’s and home goods products with a boho, or bohemian, minimalist neutral style, said Smiley, a La Ward native and current Inez resident.

“I want it to be a safe environment and for it to be a community and more than just a shop,” she said.

Community support has been a huge help she said, including other boutique owners in Victoria like Peaches & Tortilla Mercantile and Cotton Belles Boutique.

The retail location is a new addition to other businesses moving into the Southside of Victoria.

Lisa Kainer attended the opening Saturday, picking up a locally made candle, and said she liked that a new business is coming to the Southside that isn’t on a main street downtown.

Kainer grew up on the Southside, so seeing new business venturing out will hopefully bring more to those areas of the Southside.

The minimalist style is also an aspect of HarCo that Kainer said she likes because it can be anybody’s style, whether a person likes more or less color.

During the grand opening event Saturday, shoppers were greeted by a traveling photo booth and bar based in Victoria.

Travel Tini, co-owned by Allison Trcka, gives guests or shoppers Instagram-worthy photos or a drink.

The business started just before the pandemic, Trcka said, but has grown into other cities in Texas as well.

In the trailer, guests took photos in the custom-made photo booth with a backdrop of greenery, which she said can accommodate multiple styles.

On Saturday, she also had a ring light — popular for selfies and recording videos — and a swing that hangs from the end of the trailer.

The opening day decoration was also a part of the style Kainer said she liked about visiting the store.

“Everything was beautiful,” Kainer said.


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Government
Victoria City Council to discuss concerns on Crestwood Drive, hear updates on Capital Improvement Plan
  • Updated

At the Victoria City Council meeting Tuesday, the council is expected to discuss concerns raised by residents of the newly reconstructed Crestwood Drive.

City Manager Jesús Garza said the city wouldn’t have official options to address the concerns by Tuesday.

“But we want to at least communicate that we are looking into it.”

Members of the city met with residents Friday to hear their concerns and placed radars on the street to track traffic speeds. That data should be available in the next two weeks and will help provide them with concrete data that will help inform future decisions. No action will be taken on the issue on Tuesday, however.

The Council will also hear an update on the Capital Improvement Plan, a multi-year plan to identify and address the City’s major needs. Capital Improvement Plan projects are typically over $100,000 in value and have a life expectancy of greater than 10 years.

The city aims to implement the Capital Improvement Plan by June. Projects will then be incorporated into the 2022 proposed budget.

This story was updated May 3, 2021 to correct the day and time of the meeting.


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