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Cloudy, 76 F

Forecast:
Sat - Cloudy. High: 81 Low: 67
Sun - Mostly Cloudy. High: 82 Low: 67
Mon - AM Clouds/PM Sun. High: 84 Low: 66
Tue - Partly Cloudy. High: 89 Low: 66
Wed - Partly Cloudy/Wind. High: 88 Low: 67

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General Interest

Plans underway for State Highway 365

Hidalgo-County-SealA construction contract for the first portion of State Highway 365 is scheduled to be awarded in September, according to Dennis Burleson, of the Hidalgo County Regional Mobility Authority.

Reporting on the short-term strategic plan for the project, Burleson told the commissioners court the first portion of the international trade corridor, which will stretch from Pharr to Madero when complete, will be centered at the Pharr international bridge.

According to the information provided, the construction of segment three, a 1.84 mile length of Texas 365 (non toll) road project will be let in September and construction should be completed by June 2016 at a cost of $25.3 million. This includes federal funds of $1.5 million, state funds of $5.6 million, local funds of $18.2 million.

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Hidalgo County election equipment to be impounded

Hidalgo-County-SealDistrict Attorney Rene Guerra filed an application Wednesday to impound Hidalgo County’s voting machines as well as election records for the March primaries after 12 candidates requested a forensic analysis of the machines.

“It has been brought to our attention that numerous inconsistencies and discrepancies have appeared in our analysis of each candidate’s races,” states a letter signed by 10 candidates.

It was signed by Paul M. Vazaldua Jr., who ran for justice of the peace, precinct 2, place 2, and received just 5 percent of the votes; Mari Regalado, who garnered 23 percent of the votes in the race for District 26 state representative; Marla Cuellar, who received 42 percent of the vote in the race for County-Court-at-Law No. 8; Reynoldo Ortiz, who lost the race for 92nd District Court Judge with 30 percent of the votes; Elvia Rios, another justice of the peace candidate, who lost with 8 percent of the votes; Juan R. Partida, who, in the race for 275th District Court Judge, garnered the most votes (49.52 percent) but not enough to avoid a runoff; Mauro Barreiro, who ran against Partida and received 22 percent of the votes; Homer Jasso, who received the most of the of the votes in the race for justice of the peace, precinct 4, place 2, but also failed to avoid a runoff; Eloy Treviño, who garnered 18 percent of the votes for justice of the peace, precinct 2, place 2.

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Congressmen get first-hand look at RGV

20140319 RGV-Partnership-chat 1603When U.S. Rep. Bill Flores, R-Bryan, went to his first budget meeting at Congress, the certified public accountant brought a calculator with him.

“A lot of people looked at me like, ‘What is that?’ And then I had an idea of what the problem was,” Flores joked about balancing the budget at a conversation over coffee hosted by the Rio Grande Valley Partnership.

U.S. Reps. Kevin Brady, R-The Woodlands, and Mike Conaway, R-Midland, also sat down with moderator Sergio Sanchez of News Talk 710 KURV.

“I think spending cuts can get us halfway back to a balanced budget,” Brady said. “But we’re going to need a much stronger economy to finish the job and start paying down our debt.”

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Participation in Operation Lone Star 2014 gets county approval

Hidalgo-County-SealHidalgo County Commissioners Court agreed to participate again in Operation Lone Star in August at the request of Eddie Olivarez, director of Hidalgo County Health and Human Services, at a Tuesday meeting

The purpose of the program is public health preparedness and response.

Olivarez said other organizations involved in Operation Lone Star are the Texas Department of Health, the Texas military, and the U.S. National Coast Guard, along with local partners from the University of Texas-Rio Grande Valley, South Texas College and local technical schools.

The program includes two interlocal agreements between Pharr-San Juan-Alamo Independent School District and La Joya ISD. It also includes an agreement between Remote Area Medical Foundation and the County of Hidalgo to provide expanded medical services to residents of Hidalgo County.

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Countdown to Get Covered Bus stops in RGV

20140312 McAllen-Healthcare-Bus AF  IMG 0016McALLEN— With a 3-month-old baby at home, Amber Arriaga, 27, there was no question that she needed to sign up for insurance coverage by the end of the month.

That’s why she made a point of stopping by the “Countdown to Get Covered” bus tour hosted by Enroll America at the McAllen Public Library on Wednesday.

Arriaga’s coworker, Ruben Garza, said the organization they work for assists with the promotion of applying for healthcare across the Rio Grande Valley. Still, he said, they both would take advantage of any assistance provided because even with their knowledge of the program, they still had questions about the application.

“Even we need to pair up with navigators, and we know more about the program than the average person, so this is wonderful,” Arriaga said.

Both Arriaga and Garza work with the Texas Organizing Project, which works to improve the lives of low-income and working-class Texas families through community organizing and civic and electoral engagement. Arriaga said TOP also holds seminars that assist local citizens to gain more information on the healthcare program.

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Drainage District looks at alternative plan for levees at Peñitas pumphouse

Hidalgo-County-SealThe Hidalgo County Drainage District agreed to look into an alternative plan to fortify the gap between the levees at the Peñitas Pumphouse at the request of Irrigation District No. 1, which owns the property.

If waters overtook the levees, much of southwest Hidalgo County would flood. An engineer representing the irrigation district told the Commissioner Court, which oversees the drainage district, the county’s temporary solution of building a wall behind the pump station would leave the station vulnerable.

If the building were to fall during a major storm, an area extending from Peñitas to Mission and Edinburg would be without water as the pumphouse produces 6.5 billion gallons of drinking water daily. It also provides 70,000 acres with irrigation water and maintains 26 miles of canals to Edinburg.

Instead, the engineer suggested the county consider fortifying the earthen levees on each side of the pump station and shore up the station itself. The total price tag for work on the building could range from $800,000 to $1 million.

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Daylight Saving Time falls on Sunday, March 9

20140307 daylightsavingsDon’t forget to set clocks forward an hour at 2 a.m. Sunday morning to mark the beginning of Daylight Saving Time or else risk showing up for church and other activities late.

Some states began observing Daylight Saving Times early as 1918, and the practice became mandatory yearlong in the United States during World War II as a way to conserve resources for the war effort. Residents now spring forward in March and fall back in November.

The country will fall back once again Nov. 2.

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IMAS presents Hermes Music Foundation exhibit

imas-logoMcALLEN – The International Museum of Art and Science (IMAS) invites the public to the opening reception for an exhibition featuring the Hermes Music Foundation Art Collection. It includes works by international masters Enrique Mondragon and Carlos Aguilar.

It kicks off with an opening reception on Thursday, March 6, from 6 to 8 p.m. in the Cardenas Gallery, where the collection will be on display through June 8. Featuring an array of oil paintings and sculptures by Mondragon and Aguilar, the works highlight influences that inspire both artists including art, culture, spirituality and artistic representations of persons, animal, life and nature.

Praised by colleagues as a painter of light and color, Mondragon is a master of impressionism, having begun his art education at age 14 at the famed Escuela Nacional de Pintura, Escultura y Grabado (ENPEG) or "La Esmeralda” in Mexico City. It was there that the Italian Maestro Antonio Bologna taught him the art of the blade, an application technique via spatula that he still uses to this day in his oil paintings.

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CoverageAreaThe Progress Times is the hometown newspaper for the local communities of Mission, Sharyland, Alton, Palmview, La Joya and surrounding areas in Western Hidalgo County. We have a staff of veteran reporters who work diligently every week to bring our readers the latest news as it affects their hometown area and people.

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