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Kingsville Farmers Market

The Kingsville Farmers Market will be held on Feb. 22, beginning at 9 a.m.

Th market is held on the fourth Saturday of every month in the Downtown Pavilion in Kingsville on Sixth Street, near Kleberg Bank.

Vendors will have locally-grown produce, farm fresh eggs, baked goods, organic chicken, pasture-raised pork and more.

Empire vs. Cobras

The Kingsville Empire will take on the Cobras on Feb. 15 at Dick Kleberg Park.

The game will run from 3:30 to 6:30 p.m.

Tickets are $5, with ages 10 and under getting in free.

The Empire are Kingsville's hometown women's full-contact football team. They are members of the Xtreme Female Football League.

For more information, call (361) 218-4634.

Poetry Reading

The Novel Blend will be hosting a poetry reading at its business on Feb. 15.

The reading starts at 7 p.m.

Attendees are invited to bring their own poetry to read, or read something the Poetry Cafe will have on-hand.

People are also invited to attend just to listen to some of the readings that will take place.

Kingsville aiming for HGTV 'Takeover'

A takeover of the City of Kingsville could be coming in 2021, but not to worry – this is one the city is seeking.

HGTV announced earlier this year that it would be offering a new series that builds upon its well-known "Home Town" show. That series, hosted by couple Ben and Erin Napier, kicked off its fourth season on Jan. 20 and follows the pair as they renovate homes in their hometown of Laurel, Miss.

The new show – "Home Town Takeover" – will put things on a much bigger scale, with HGTV putting out a call to towns with populations under 40,000 for a massive makeover. Cities from across the nation have applied for the chance to have their downtowns and communities improved as part of the new show, which will air in 2021.

The City of Kingsville entered their own eight-minute video for "Home Town Takeover" that began making the rounds on social media this weekend.

"Well, I noticed an opportunity to help the city and decided it was something we could do," Kingsville Tourism Director Janine Reyes said in an interview on Monday. "I spoke with a few people and we began to put together a package to

send to the show."

Reyes said the submission could have been sent in with a written excerpt of the plans to improve downtown, along with 10 photographs or a video.

"We gathered everything we could that made Kingsville look like the place the show could really make an impact on," Reyes said. "Of course we needed to provide the foundation for them to work with, and hopefully our effort was enough to convince them to come to Kingsville."

In the video, which was submitted, Reyes discusses the different aspects of Kingsville's history and unique possibilities offered by buildings in need of renovation. City Manager Mark McLaughlin also makes an appearance in the video.

"We know we're the perfect match for Erin and Ben Napier's Home Town Takeover and we're ready to invite the entire crew and viewers right here to our special city," Reyes said in the video. The video touches on Kingsville's establishment on July 4, 1904, it being the home of the renowned King Ranch, as well as the growth that led to the establishment of Naval Air Station-Kingsville and Texas A&M University-Kingsville.

Portions of the video also touch on planned renovations from private developers to downtown buildings that could spur business growth in hopes of revitalizing the area.

For instance, David Thibodeaux – owner of The Salazar Building's event space at Richard and Sixth streets – has plans to convert an existing building at the corner of Eight Street and Kleberg Avenue into a wine bar downtown, as well as additional retail space.

Nick Harrell III, owner of Harrel's Pharmacy, has space above his business that was used as a pool hall that he would like to convert into loft apartments, the video states. Renowned artist Santa Barraza is also planning to renovate an old home into an art gallery with space for artists to compose their pieces.

"Really, the community is what keeps us going and wanting to do new projects here," Thibodeaux said in the video.

It's unclear when the winning community will be notified if it is selected, but the deadline for entries was Feb. 7. The six-episode series will allow viewers to see the rehabilitation of individual homes, as well as public spaces, like parks, local diners or restaurants, and outdoor recreation areas, according to HGTV's website.

"This is a big one," Erin Napier said in a statement on Jan. 7. "HGTV has never, ever taken on a whole-town renovation and restoration project, and we're so proud and excited to be leading the team that will get it done."

Reporter Frank Cardenas contributed to this story.

A paws-itive addition to the force

The Kleberg County Sheriff's Office has a new K-9 officer in their ranks who will help serve the community four paws at a time.

Lora is a one-year-old Belgian Malinois who has been trained and brought to Kleberg County to aid county law enforcement in identifying illegal substances while in the field.

Kleberg County Sheriff Richard Kirkpatrick said a few months ago the Department of Justice provided an opportunity with a micro-grant through the Office of Community Oriented Policing Services to acquire a new K-9 for their force.

C.O.P.S. is the component of the U.S. Department of Justice responsible for advancing the practice of community policing by the nation's state, local, territorial and tribal law enforcement agencies through information and grant resources, according to the DOJ website.

The $8,000 grant was awarded to the KCSO and was enough to cover the cost of purchase for the K-9, Kirkpatrick said.

"We were very excited about being able to bring (the K-9) back here and provide that service for us for here in Kleberg County," Kirkpatrick said. "There are so many things going on in our schools (and) out in our community that you know, we really desperately needed the K-9 and so fortunately we're happy to say she's here."

Kirkpatrick said Lora went through a rigorous training program to learn how to identify the scents of marijuana, cocaine, heroin and methamphetamines.

K-9 deputy Gerardo Gonzalez spent the three-and-a-half week program along side Lora to prepare the two for their eventual day-today activities.

Gonzalez said he had always had an interest in becoming a K-9 handler while working at the KCSO, and was excited when the Sheriff approached him about the opportunity.

The program was overwhelming at times, Gonzalez said, but worth the effort, especially because Lora wasn't welcoming of her new partner when they first met.

"My first couple of days were rough because Lora was a little aggressive with me," Gonzalez said. "The first two days she hardly would let me touch her. And then the third or fourth day she started to be a little bit more calm and after that, it was just more like, okay, let's

learn together."

Gonzalez and Lora spent their days at the K-9 Global Training Academy in Somerset, Texas, where they learned how to investigate different scenarios at schools, houses, stadiums and other types of venues where K-9's may search for narcotics.

Gonzalez said their bond grew as the training progressed, and after the program was complete, the ride back to Kleberg County was exciting for him and his new partner.

Lora is now the second K-9 on the force for the KCSO, and will work with Gonzalez every day they are assigned to be working.

And in her off time, Gonzalez said, she gets to go home with him and spend time with his family, of which she is now a part.

Early voting to begin

With early voting in the Primary Election set to begin on Tuesday, Kleberg County Clerk Stephanie Garza wants to remind voters looking to receive a ballot by mail that the application deadline to do so will end next Friday.

"So they need to hurry if they want to send us a ballot by mail," Garza said.

The Primary Election is where voters will decide which of their respective political party's nominees in local, state and federal races will be placed on the ballot in November's General Election.

The early voting period will begin Tuesday, Feb. 18, and will continue weekdays from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. through Friday, Feb. 28, at the Kleberg County Early Voting Annex Office, located at 720 E. King Ave. across the street from the Kleberg County Courthouse.

Early voting will also be open at the annex Office from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday, Feb. 22.

For voters who are 65 years of age or older, disabled, in jail or will be out-of-county during early voting and Election Day, Garza said they have the option to cast a ballot by mail.

Garza said while her office has received more than 300 applications for ballots by mail from voters in the Democratic party, requests from Republican voters have been in single digits.

"We don't even have 10 for the Republican party,"

she said. "And that really does worry me because the Republican party has contested elections on Precinct 1 and Precinct 3."

Garza said even requests for applications for ballots by mail from voters that her office has received in past elections have yet to come in.

"In March of 2018, we had 76 (requests)," she said. "So far this year, we have seven. Yes, in the General Election, we have a lot more, but that (difference) really is concerning."

Garza said voters can also mark on their applications to receive ballots by mail for the full calendar year.

"If they qualify, we'll forward it for the city and school elections and take it to any runoff elections and through the General Election," she said. "But they have to mark it as 'Annual.'"

Applications for ballots by mail must be received no later than 5 p.m. on Friday, Feb. 21.

"And that means it's in our office received, not postmarked," Garza said.

Garza said voters with questions or who need to request an application to cast a ballot by mail should call her office at (361) 595-8548.

Applications for ballot by mail should be mailed to: Stephanie Garza, Kleberg County Clerk, Early Voting Clerk, P.O. Box 1327, Kingsville, Texas 78364.

Primary Election Day will be Tuesday, March 3, from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. On Election Day, voters must vote in the precinct where they are registered to vote.

Polling locations are as follows:

Pct. 11 – Wild Horse Mall main entrance (1601 S. Hwy 77)

Pct. 12 – Kleberg County Pct. 1 Building (1910 E. Trant Rd.)

Pct. 13 and 14 – Coastal Bend Fellowship Church Hall (1500 E. Caesar Ave.)

Pct. 21 – Kleberg Elementary School (900 N. 6th St.)

Pct. 22 – Kleberg County Pct. 2 Building (620 N. 3rd St.)

Pct. 23 – University Baptist Church, Rear Building (1324 N. Armstrong Ave.)

Pct. 24 – Santa Gertrudis School (803 Santa Rosa Rd.)

Pct. 31 – Knights of Columbus Hall Council 3389 (320 Gen. Cavazos Blvd.)

Pct. 32 – St. Paul AME Church (529 W. Warren Ave.)

Pct. 33 and 34 – Riviera County Building (103 N. 7th St., Riviera)

Pct. 35 – Ricardo Community Senior Center (109 N. Nix St.)

Pct. 41 and 42 – Gillett Intermediate School (1007 N. 17th St.) Pct. 43 – Early Voting Annex Office (207 E. King Ave. at 12th St.)

Pct. 44 – Kingsville ISD Administration Building (207 N. 3rd St.)

Pct. 45 – St. Martin's Church Parish Hall (504 E. Ella Ave.)

Sample ballots for the Primary Election can be found online at http://www.co.kleberg.tx.us/page/kleberg. Elections.