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On Fronteras: Valley Vets Want VA Hospital, New Mexico Prisoner Deaths, Spanish Arabic Connection

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This week on Fronteras: 

--Rio Grande Valley veterans say the Veteran's Administration is not providing timely healthcare.

--In New Mexico, prisoners blame poor medical care for the deaths of three inmates.

--Mexico’s Carlos Slim Foundation makes a big donation to help Baylor scientists fight Chagas disease, which is spreading through Latin America and becoming a hotspot in Texas.

--Activists gather hundreds of signatures to recognize Mexico in a place that celebrates diversity in San Diego’s Balboa Park.

--It might surprise you that Spanish has a lot of similarities to Arabic.

Valley Veterans Want VA Hospital Built

By the end of the year, veterans in the Rio Grande Valley will find out whether the federal government will finally build a Veterans Administration hospital in their part of Texas. 

Valley veterans say they’re still waiting too long for certain types of care, and they believe having a VA hospital close to home would help. Texas Public Radio’s Ryan Poppe recently traveled to the Valley and talked with veterans there about their needs.  

Here's the story.

Questions Arise Following Three New Mexico Inmate Deaths

In New Mexico, some prisoners blame poor medical care for three deaths in as many months in ​a San Juan County lockup.  The situation caught the attention of attorneys and the local newspaper. The story from KUNM’s Fronteras reporter Marisa Demarco.

Here's the story. 

Mexican Foundation Donates $2.6 Million To Fight Chagas Disease

Many people in Latin America are suffering from Chagas disease— caused by a little known parasite that can nest inside the heart for years. Texas is also a hotspot for the disease and scientists at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston are working on a therapeutic vaccine. 

They just got a big donation from the Carlos Slim Foundation in Mexico to help that research. Houston Public Media’s Carrie Feibel has more on who’s being infected and why.

Here's the story.

Activists Petition For Mexico Representation In Balboa Park

In San Diego’s Balboa Park, 19 international cottages represent different countries in a collaboration that celebrates the city’s diversity.  But there’s no individual cottage for Mexico, and some activists want a change because Mexico was there in the beginning. 

KPBS Fronteras reporter Jean Guerrero says their petition drive has gathered hundreds of signatures.  She talked to them about the cottage history as they rallied in the park.

Here's the story. 

Spanish Shares Words With Arabic

It’s Hispanic Heritage Month – a heritage that runs so deep in Texas that the original contracts of the first Anglo-American settlers who came to what would become the state of Texas were all handwritten in Spanish.

At the time, Stephen F. Austin, founder of the first and largest colony, wrote all his correspondence in Spanish. He even occasionally used Estevan as his signature - the Spanish version of his name.

KUT’s Joy Diaz is a native Spanish speaker and was surprised to learn about the connections between Spanish and other languages.  

Here's the story.