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San Benito grants to improve health, safety

November 16, 2018

SAN BENITO — It’s all-around improvements for the city of San Benito.

The city recently received separate grants that fund improvements for the Police Department and community health activities.

Community health grant

A $60,000 grant, received through an agreement with the University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston will enable the continuation of free health awareness and community activities throughout the 2018-2019 fiscal year.

According to San Benito Parks and Recreation Director Art Garza, the grant will fund exercise classes, health screenings, outreach services and the salary of Community Health Worker Letty Gomez.

Gomez conducts the Tu Salud! Si Cuenta! Program, a movement created 15 years ago in Brownsville to address high rates of obesity and diabetes.

Gomez said the city has been participating with the Tu Salud! Si Cuenta Program for five years and it has been beneficial for the community.

“For participants, the program gives them a lot of support,” she said. “Some people who attend the class feel stressed or depressed and the classes help them feel better.”

The grant also provides funding for space and venues to host group lifestyle balance classes and The Happy Kitchen/La Cocina Alegre classes, which are free cooking classes where participants learn how to prepare healthy meals.

Garza said the classes are another way the city will invest in the health and wellness of the community.

“We encourage everyone looking for a healthier lifestyle to join us in these programs,” Garza said. “It’s fun, and it’s free.”

Police department grant

The city received a $20,000 Operation Stonegarden grant that officials will use for increased public safety throughout the area.

The grant will fund overtime salaries for the Police Department to support enhanced cooperation and coordination among local, state and federal enforcement agencies to secure Texas and Mexico’s international water borders.

According to the city, the increased patrols and enforcement actions are designed to reduce the “growing threat” of criminal activity, border security and other local operations.

San Benito Chief of Police Michael Galvan said the department “recognizes the need for increased patrols and enforcement action.”

Other improvements for the San Benito Police Department include the purchase of three Dell servers, which will host new communications software.

Additionally, last week the City Commission approved payment of $22,836 to the Rio Grande Valley Communications Group to pay radio user fees for public safety.

According to Galvan, the payment will cover the 2018-2019 years for Fire and Police Department radios.

ahernandez@valleystar.com

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