Early voting has offcially begun in Kleberg County, and on the first day, a number of area residents made their way to the Early Voting Annex Offce to cast their ballot before the Nov. 3 General Election.
Kleberg County Clerk Stephanie Garza said the county had a turnout of 820 voters at the Early Voting Annex on Tuesday, which caught the offce almost by surprise.
"This is the biggest I've seen in an election," Garza said on Wednesday.
"The turnout is good and we expected it. We knew that it was going to be busy, but we didn't expect it to be super busy on one day the way it was. I mean, it was just constant going. We had the line of people around the side of the building and then towards King Street down the sidewalk."
Garza said because of the turnout on Tuesday, her offces even had to close in order to have more hands help at the election offce. And the way lines were forming Wednesday morning, she said, she expects a "larger than ever" voter turnout for the rest of the election season.
Early voting will continue over the course of the next month until Friday, Oct. 30.
The times and days the Early Voting Annex will be open for in person voting at 720 E. King are as follows:
- From Oct. 15 to Oct. 17, from 8 a.m.-5 p.m.;
- From Oct. 19 to Oct. 24, from 8 a.m.-5 p.m.;
- From Oct. 26 to Oct. 27 from 7 a.m.-7 p.m.;
- And from Oct. 28 to Oct. 30 from 8 a.m. -5 p.m.
Sample ballots for this year's election are available online at the Kleberg County Website, the Kleberg County Courthouse or at the Early Voting Annex.Applications for Ballots by Mail and Federal Postcard Applications must be received by the County Clerk's office no later than the close of business on Oct. 23.
Kleberg County Clerk Stephanie Garza said in a recent interview that this year, the Early Voting Annex had an extension built to it to help with social distancing.
When voting, Garza said, individuals can take their own black pen to mark the ballot. If voters have a stylus pen, they can take that as well.
Hand Sanitizer will also be available for all voters, and when voting, they will enter in one door and exit outside the other. The facilities and utensils will be continuously sanitized as voting begins.
Pro Tex Pest Management Cindy Smith Flores from Riviera has offered to sanitize all the polling locations that will be used for the General Election, free of charge, she said.
"We are trying to do everything we can possible do to help the voter feel safe while voting," Garza added. "Curbside voting will also be offered to those who can not enter the polling location. There will be signs for curbside voting but if the slots are taken, they just park where they can and call our office (at (361) 595-8548) and we will assist them."
Garza said those submitting Ballots by Mail at the courthouse should not leave their ballot in the drop box.
"They need to knock on our door and we will assist them," Garza said. "Do not leave the ballot across the hall, either. They will need to present an ID and sign a roster if they are hand delivering their Ballot by Mail."
Garza said voters should also not forget to sign their yellow carrier envelope. "If they do not sign it, their vote will not get counted," she added.
Election day this year will include five new voting locations for the following precincts:
- Precinct #12 H. M. King High School (Old Location Kleberg County Precinct 1 Bldg.);
- Precinct #14 Harvey Elementary, 1301 East Kenedy Ave. (old Location Law Enforcement Center, Court House Annex);
- Precinct #22 Henrietta Memorial Center King Ranch Museum, 405 North 6th Street, Kingsville; (old Location Kleberg County Precinct 2 Bldg.);
- Precinct #32 Memorial Middle School, Kingsville (Old Location St. Paul's AME Church);
- And Precinct #41 Romeo L. Lomas Human Services Bldg., 1109 East Santa Gertrudis, Kingsville; (Old Location Kleberg County Precinct 4 Bldg.).
All of the polling locations will be posted in the Kingsville Record as the election draws closer.
In addition to this year's presidential race between Democrat Joe Biden and Republican Incumbent Donald Trump, a number of contested local races will be on the ballots for Kleberg County voters during the Nov. 3 General Election.
Those include the races for Texas U.S. Senator, U.S. Rep. District 34, Texas State Senate District 27, Kleberg County Sheriff, County Tax Assessor-Collector, Kleberg County Commissioner seats and City of Kingsville Commissioner seats.
Dozens of community members and their four-legged friends will now have another place to play after participating in the grand opening of the Vishal Raju Bhagat Memorial Dog Park, last Thursday afternoon.
Kingsville Mayor Protem Edna Lopez said the 85,000 square foot dog park located at Dick Kleberg Park cost $146,763 to build and was made possible through public and private partnerships using certificates of obligation, general funds and donor funds.
The Vishal Raju Bhagat Memorial Foundation contributed $25,000 to help build the park.
The foundation has made two similar donations to other dog parks located in Corpus Christi and Portland.
This foundation's mission is to fight type I juvenile di-
abetes by granting funds for innovative research, and was named improving education and advocacy within the general public, and improving the lives of children afficted with diabetes and in need of assistance, according to the foundation's website. The foundation was in memory of Vishal Bhagat, who had type I juvenile diabetes and passed away in 2006.
Director of the Vishal Raju Bhagat Memorial Foundation, Daryl Genze, said prior to Bhagat's passing, he had a beagle that was his best friend; this park is a way to honor their friendship.
Construction of the park started in January of 2020 and was delayed due to COVID-19 testing closures throughout the year.
Hours of the park are from 8 a.m.-8 p.m. seven days a week, some breaks may be added for maintenance, but those schedules will be posted on the Kingsville Parks and Recreation Facebook page.
The park is divided into two sections; for large dogs and small dogs, with a fence around the perimeter. Both sections of the park have shading, water fountains for both dogs and their owners and agility courses.
"This is an important thing for the city," Kingsville City Commissioner Dianne Leubert said. "The dog park, and how you treat your animals, is a reflection of your community.
"People who care about animals and their pets are proven to care about their community, their neighbors, their homes; no matter how it looks, they take care of their own. This is another step for Kingsville to go forward and get better."
The Kingsville community will have a chance to hear from the candidates that could potentially be seated on the Kingsville Independent School District Board of Trustees, as part of the Virtual KISD School Board Candidate Forum taking place next week.
The Kingsville Chamber of Commerce, in partnership with the Kingsville Record and King TV Channel 69, will be hosting the Virtual KISD School Board Candidate Forum on Oct. 19, which will be live streamed for the Kingsville community to see on each entities' Facebook and YouTube pages.
"The forum is designed to be a public service to the Kingsville community," Kingsville Chamber of Commerce President/CEO Manny Salazar said. "This forum will give voters a chance to learn more about the candidates and their policy positions before Election Day."
Terry Fitzwater, Editor and Publisher of the Kingsville Record, said the news outlet is "proud" to be a part of this event.
"The Kingsville Record was proud to be asked to be a sponsor and participant in this important part of the educational and electoral process," Fitzwater said. "The more informed the electorate is on issues and who the candidates are, the better decision they can make at the ballot box.
"I believe the newspaper should have a leadership role in informing the community, and I am thrilled to stand with the Chamber of Commerce and KING-69 TV as a host and sponsor of this important event," he said.
Benny Guerra, King TV Channel 69 owner said the event will be good for uniformed voters to learn about the candidates, and he is looking forward to the event.
The first part of the forum will begin on at 6 p.m. and includes Place 4 candidates David Garcia and Jeanette Price, and Place 5 candidates Nick Prado Jr. and Elizabeth Ramos.
The 7:15 p.m. slot will include Corando Garza and Jim Glusing, and Place 7 candidates Brandon Greenwood and Delma Salinas.
Check out the Chamber of Commerce, The Kingsville Record and King TV 69's Facebook pages, as well as the Kingsville Record's and King TV 69's YouTube pages in order to watch the event.
A second suspect was recently arrested by the Kingsville Police Department in connection with the alleged murder of Jacinto Obregon, which happened last week.
On Friday, KPD offcials said in a press release that a second man, Tristen Silguero, 17, was arrested for the alleged stabbing of Obregon, 65.
Offcials said in a press release last Monday, Obregon was cleaning his car when two men approached him in his driveway and allegedly stabbed and killed him.
Offcials said they believe the men attempted to rob Obregon, which resulted in his alleged stabbing.
The first of the two suspects, Omar Valdez, 18, was arrested on the day of the alleged murder.
The release states a KPD offcer saw Valdez running across the 500 block of south Sixth Street, and the offcer stopped him near the train tracks.
Valdez, the release states, allegedly had blood on his hands and was uncooperative and refused to give a statement. Wit-
nesses identified him as one of the men who was involved in the stabbing.
According to Friday's press release, the KPD Criminal Investigations Bureau along with the assistance of the Texas Rangers continued their investigation through the week, which resulted in Silguero's arrest.
He and Valdez are charged with Capital Murder by the Kingsville Police Department and they were both held at the Kleberg County Jail with a $1,000,000 bond.
The release states the investigation also resulted in the arrest of 19-year-old Raul Garcia who resides in Houston and Long Beach, Cali.
Garcia was charged for the Coercing, Inducing, or Soliciting Membership in a Criminal Street Gang. Garcia is currently being held at the Kleberg County Jail on a $30,000 bond.
Kleberg County Justice of the Peace Carmen Cortez set each bond amount.
Valdez, Silguero and Garcia are all self-admitted members of a criminal street gang, the release states. Garcia was not directly involved in the murder of Obregon and officials said at this point investigation, it does not appear the death of Obregon was gang-related.
All three remain at the Kleberg County Jail as of Tuesday, according to online jail records.