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General Interest General Interest

La Joya students bring cheer to local families

20131218 LJISD Toy-giveaway IMG 5262LA JOYA—Claudia Portales, a mother of five daughters, said her only wish for Christmas was for her children to be happy. She carried her 1-year-old on her side and he held tightly onto a peppermint candy cane.

Only a few minutes before, Portales was hanging her children’s clothes out to dry on a wire fence that bordered her burgundy home—made from plywood and pieced together on cement blocks.

There was no chance of gifts or a real holiday in the Portales home before they received a Christmas surprise Wednesday. La Joya High School National Honor Society students arrived on a school bus and marched up her driveway, gifts in hand, wearing antlers and Santa Claus hats.


IWBC will not pay to fix Peñitas levee problem

Hidalgo-County-SealIt may take years to obtain the funding to fix flooding around Peñitas, a project that was supposed to be completed by the International Water and Boundary Commission when the levee system was repaired.

Godfrey Garza, manager of Hidalgo County Drainage District No. 1, told the Commissioners Court in a Dec. 10 meeting he had met with Commissioner Edward Drusina of the International Water and Boundary Commission on the problems with the Peñitas pump station that were part of the project to fix the levees in Hidalgo County several years ago. Repairs that were not made there were supposed to be funded with the $260 million upgrade to the levee system. Because the repairs were not made, much of Hidalgo County is still likely to face heavy flooding in the event of a hurricane.

Drusina took responsibility for the error, which occurred because a subcontractor did not do the preliminary job to specifications and the contractor in charge refused to complete the job. As a result, when all the other levees in Hidalgo County were repaired, the area around Penitas was never completed.


Mission Historical Museum opens Castilian Roses in December

20131213 Mixed-media-guadalupeMISSION—The Virgen De Guadalupe is a legend that not only piques the interest of those that practice Catholicism, but others who find warmth in her story.

The story starts with a dark-skinned Virgen de Guadalupe who appeared to Juan Diego as a sign for a new church to be built. The tale includes the blooming of Castilian Roses in the middle of December, where the Mission Historical Museum found the name for their most recent exhibit.

The museum is showcasing artwork from artists across the Valley who use photography, acrylic paints and mixed media to tell the story of the Virgen De Guadalupe.

Castilian Roses in December will run at the museum through the month, ending on Dec. 28.

In the exhibit, community members can see artwork of the Virgen De Guadalupe depicted in different versions, including her image sewn into a shawl, only drawn from tiny lines of pen ink and out of string and small painted boxes.


Mission welcomes Winter Texans Dec. 14

20131213 empty-pockets-blue-grassMission’s annual Winter Texan Welcome Home party is scheduled for Saturday, Dec. 14 from 1 to 4 p.m. at Leo Pena La Placita Park in downtown Mission on Conway Avenue and Business 83.

Rich Bellert, well known for his humorous cowboy poetry, will once again act as emcee. Bellert the pre-show featuring the Our Lady of Guadalupe School choir will start at 12:30 p.m.

Bellert has lined up four acts of Winter Texan entertainers to perform. In between performances, Bellert will recite poetry and members of the Greater Mission Chamber of Commerce will give away door prizes. Refreshments will be served but there is no meal at the fall event.


Residents go all out for perfect tree

20131129 Christmas-Tree-story AF  4100The Gonzalez family had no dollar limit when it came to picking out this year’s tree. The taller the better.

Ivan Gonzalez, of Dallas, is spending the holidays with his brother’s family and he said their tradition every year is to shop for a tree the day after Thanksgiving.

The one they picked out was about seven feet tall.

“It’s big. It looks full,” Gonzalez said. “We told them to open it up, and it looks like it’s completely full from top to bottom.”

When picking a tree, buyers are encouraged to look at the strength of the limbs to hold ornaments, make sure it’s all green and brush the limbs with their hands to see if any needles fall.

Volunteers with Boy Scouts Troop No. 83 said Thanksgiving and the day after are usually strong days for sales of trees. For the past 10 years, the Boy Scouts have sold trees at a site along Shary Road to benefit the organization.


Longoria files for reelection

Oscar-LongoriaState Rep. Oscar Longoria, D-La Joya, officially filed as a candidate for re-election in Texas House District 35, which encompasses parts of Hidalgo and Cameron Counties.

“It is a tremendous honor to serve the people of District 35 in the Texas House of Representatives,” Longoria said. “I’m honored and humbled that the people of Hidalgo and Cameron counties have elected me once before and my hope is that I have earned their trust for another term.”

During the 83rd Legislative Session, Rep. Longoria was appointed to the House Appropriations Committee, where he serves on the sub-committee for Articles I, IV, and V, and as vice chairman of the Budget Transparency and Reform sub-committee. He is also an appointed member of the Investments & Financial Services Committee.


County discusses courthouse woes

Hidalgo-County-SealIn light of recent evacuations at the Hidalgo County Courthouse, emergency procedures were critiqued at the Tuesday meeting of Commissioners Court.

On Friday, Nov. 22, the courthouse was closed for almost two hours when there was a major power outage in the area leaving the courthouse and surrounding area in darkness. Employees who work in locations without light and air conditioning were told to leave and come back later when it was determined the problem would not be fixed quickly.

The following Monday the heat at the courthouse was turned on after a long period of time. Dust on coils caused a burning smell and smoke was reported coming from vents on the second floor. Again employees were told to vacate the building by the sheriff’s department, which is in charge of evacuations. They returned two and a half hours later after the fire department determined there was no fire. The smoke and burning smell was coming from the dust burning off the dirty coils.

In both cases employees waited outside until they were told the problem could not be fixed until a certain time and they should leave or leave and come back later.


Border Patrol agents educate truck drivers

20131206 RGV BP-2BROWNSVILLE— The Rio Grande Valley Border Patrol Sector’s Combined Enforcement Unit addressed more than 80 commercial truck drivers Nov. 29 as part of an initiative called “Texas Hold ’Em.”

The initiative is a collaborative effort between the Border Patrol and the Texas Department of Public Safety that aims to reduce the trafficking of contraband in commercial vehicles such astractor-trailers, buses and freight carriers by using existing state laws to revoke the commercial driver’s license of a person convicted of a smuggling-related offense.

According to the Texas Transportation code, a person who holds a CDL is disqualified from driving a commercial vehicle for life if convicted of using any motor vehicle during the commission of a felony.

At the request of a Brownsville trucking company, Border Patrol agents educated drivers on the dangers associated with transporting contraband as well as the consequences of a smuggling conviction.


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