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COVID-19 death in Kleberg County

The first death related to the novel coronavirus has been reported in Kleberg County, officials said in a release on Monday night.

Kleberg County Judge Rudy Madrid and the City of Kingsville Mayor Sam Fugate said they were notified this afternoon of the first death resulting from COVID-19 in Kleberg County and the City of Kingsville.

The release states the middle-aged man from Kingsville tested positive for COVID-19 on March 27. This was the first case of the novel coronavirus in Kleberg County.

After being in quarantine and later seeking medical treatment, the man received treatment at an area hospital in Corpus Christi.

The release states the man did have other underlying health issues.

His case was travel-related, after the man returned to Kingsville from Waco.

"This is a very dark day for our community and the Coastal Bend, one life lost is one too many," Kleberg County Judge Rudy Madrid said in the release.

Both the City and County have released stay-at-home orders in the area in order to curb the spread of the virus.

"This disease can be deadly, it is a danger that threatens our community and that is exactly why we have these orders in place," Fugate said in the release.

Restrictions are in place to limit movement, person-to-person contact and the spread of COVID-19, the release states.

The City of Kingsville extended their orders through April 30 at Monday's city commission meeting, and Kleberg County's will run until April 20 at 11:59 p.m. with an extension to be discussed on that date.

"Nobody wants to put these orders in place, but these orders are needed for the safety of our community during this global pandemic" Fugate said in the release. "We do not want to lose anyone else to COVID-19, but that is going to require community cooperation."

There are still only two reported cases of the novel coronavirus in Kleberg County as of Tuesday.

Bella's surprise birthday parade

In a time where the novel coronavirus is preventing loved ones from gathering to celebrate some of life's better moments, the friends and family of one Kingsville teenager decided to get creative.

Isabella "Bella" Trujano was expecting her 13th birthday to be more about staying home rather than celebrating her special day with her friends and family on April 9.

But thanks to careful planning from her parents, while following rules of social distancing, Bella was given a sur-

prise she could only have dreamed of as nearly a dozen vehicles filled with her closest friends and relatives drove up and down the street in front of her home as they waved signs and blasted music to wish the teenager a happy birthday.

Her parents, Alfonso and Sara Trujano, said they got the idea from videos on social media, and felt the decision to give Bella her own birthday parade was a great way to give her a chance to see all of the people she cares about on her special day.

Alfonso Trujano said they stayed up late the night before preparing signs and decorations, and then woke up early the next morning to put the decorations in their front yard.

Bella was taken outside to see what her parents had done, and that's when the cars began to approach her house.

As she stood outside and saw the parade, Bella began to cry tears of joy while she waved back at her family and friends.

The vehicles then parked outside her home, as everyone rolled down their windows down or stood by their cars and began to sing "Happy Birthday."

One-by-one, they exited from their vehicles to place their signs and gifts for Bella on the Trujano's front lawn. Bella took her time to thank each of her birthday guests individually.

Bella's parents said they wanted to thank everyone who was willing to drive by to put on the birthday parade for their daughter.

Bella herself said she is grateful and thankful for everyone who made the trip.

"Today, I woke up thinking we weren't going to do anything for my birthday, and then this happened," she said. "Once I saw everybody, I started crying. I really liked it. It was something I didn't expect at all. It's never happened before so I was really happy that everybody could come."

Keep out
Parks close for social distancing

All Kingsville parks are closed until further notice, City of Kingsville officials announced last week.

On April 8, an announcement was made on the City of Kingsville, TX Facebook page of the closure of all city parks, including the closure of the L.E. Ramey Golf Course by order of the Kingsville City Manager Mark McLaughlin..

At a joint press conference with Kleberg County officials on April 9, Kingsville Mayor Sam Fugate said the city parks closing is a good thing for residents and the city staff.

"It will slow down social gathering, but it will also give (the city) an opportunity to work on some stuff that we need to in our parks," Fugate said. "When we open them back up, they're going to be in a lot better shape."

City Manager Mark McLaughlin said in a phone interview following the announcement on April 8, the decision to close the parks was made to follow Texas Gov. Greg Abbott's order to close all state parks and historic sites on April 7, in order to curb the spread of the novel coronavirus.

"The goal is to adhere to (Abbott's) orders and when he closed down the state parks, I felt it was necessary to do the same to the parks in Kingsville," McLaughlin said.

McLaughlin said the decision was also made to encourage residents to continue to follow the city and county stay-at-home orders, as city officials continue to find ways to limit possible spread of the virus.

Individuals who are found in violation of the order, McLaughlin said, are subject to trespassing penalties.

The Kleberg County parks were closed Easter weekend, but have re-opened for use unless announced otherwise, Kleberg County officials said on Monday.

County officials ask to please continue to practice social distancing for the safety of the community.

Runoffs set for July 14

The upcoming runoff elections for local and state office have been moved from May 26 to July 14, Kleberg County Clerk Stephanie Garza said late last week.

"The Secretary of State (office) got with all election administrators and county clerks in Texas and gave the date and election calendar that we're going by," Garza said.

Locally, the Republican nomination for Pct. 3 County Commissioner will be on the July ballot.

Jerry Martinez was the lead vote getter for the nomination in the March Primary with 317 votes (49.38 percent), compared to the 199 votes (30.99 percent) received for Jacob Moseley Sr. and 126 votes (19.63 percent) for Ricardo Perez.

Martinez' total, however, was less than 50 percent of the vote needed to secure the nomination. He will face Moseley in the July runoff election.

The winner will face Democratic nominee Arturo "Artie" De La Rosa in November for the commissioner seat. De La Rosa defeated incumbent Roy Cantu and challenger Pablo Soliz in the March Primary, receiving 53 percent of the vote.

On the Democrats' side on the July ballot will be the District 27 State Senator race, where Democratic incumbent Eddie Lucio Jr. will be in a runoff race with challenger Sara Stapleton Barrera. Lucio received only

49.8 percent of the vote in the March Primary, while Barrera was the second-top vote-getter with 35.6 percent. Challenger Ruben Cortez finished in third place with 14.6 percent of the total.

Also on the democratic ballot will be the runoff for U.S. Senator between nominees Mary "M.J." Hegar and Royce West, with the winner facing incumbent John Cornyn in November. Another Democratic race will be the Railroad Commissioner race between Roberto R. "Beto" Alonzo and Chrysta Casteneda to see who will face Republican candidate James Wright.

Garza said early voting is set for July 6-10, and the deadline to apply to receive a ballot by mail is July 2. Voters who are 65 years of age or older, disabled, in jail or will be out-of-county during early voting and Election Day are eligible to cast ballot by mail.

"I do encourage anyone who needs a ballot by mail to request it as soon as possible," Garza said. "Also, a spouse cannot fill out (the form) unless they have filled out the 'assistance' part of the application. Otherwise, it's possible that the vote is not going to count."