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On Fronteras: Feds Target Political Corruption In The Rio Grande Valley

John Burnett
Rock Stone, supervisory special agent who's heading the FBI's Rio Grande Valley Public Corruption Task Force.

This week on Fronteras:

•          A federal task force has moved into the Rio Grande Valley to investigate long-standing political corruption. 

•          NPR’s John Burnett talks to Texas Public Radio about the origins of the federal corruption probe, including concerns that businesses will not bring economic development to the region as long as the corruption is so widespread.

•          Teens living on both sides of the border near San Diego are tackling issues affected young Hispanics, including high school dropout rates and unemployment.

•          San Antonio's five Spanish missions have joined the Statue of Liberty, the Great Wall of China and the Grand Canyon on a prestigious list of World Heritage sites.  The Missions’ story is essential to understanding how South Texas developed.

U.S. Government Investigates Rio Grande Valley Political Corruption 

The stories of political corruption in Texas’ Rio Grande Valley are nothing new.  Now the federal government has launched an investigation.  The U.S. Justice Department says that in 2013 more public officials were convicted for corruption in the Rio Grande Valley than in any other region of the country.  The alleged crimes include everything from drug smuggling and courthouse bribery, to buying votes and healthcare fraud.  NPR’s John Burnett recently traveled to the Valley to report on the reasons for the corruption and why many want it stopped.   Here's the story. 

NPR’s John Burnett says what surprised him most in reporting the corruption story is just how pervasive the wrongdoing seems to be

NPR's John Burnett talks to Fronteras about reporting corruption in the Rio Grande Valley

Mexican and U.S. Students Debate Cross-Border Issues

High school students in the U.S. and Mexico share similar challenges. The University of San Diego recently hosted a mock legislative session where the teens joined forces to look for solutions. KPBS Fronteras reporter Jean Guerrero says they tackled some serious issues for Hispanics including high school dropout rates and unemployment.   Here's her report. 

San Antonio Spanish Missions Named World Heritage Site

Think about some of the best known landmarks around the world and the Statue of Liberty, the Great Wall of China and the Pyramids of Giza may come to mind.  Now San Antonio's Spanish Missions have joined them on a prestigious list.   The United Nations commission, UNESCO, has named the Missions a World Heritage site.  Texas Public Radio’s Jack Morgan reports on the history behind the missions that qualified them for the World Heritage honor.   He also reported on San Antonio's celebration following the announcement. 


Shelley Kofler is Texas Public Radio’s news director. She joined the San Antonio station in December 2014 and leads a growing staff that produces two weekly programs; a daily talk show, news features, reports and online content. Prior to TPR, Shelley served as the managing editor and news director at KERA in Dallas-Fort Worth, and the Austin bureau chief and legislative reporter for North Texas ABC affiliate WFAA-TV.