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Current Conditions:
Mostly Cloudy, 82 F

Forecast:
Sat - Isolated Thunderstorms. High: 100 Low: 79
Sun - Partly Cloudy. High: 100 Low: 77
Mon - Mostly Sunny. High: 98 Low: 77
Tue - Mostly Sunny. High: 100 Low: 78
Wed - Mostly Sunny. High: 102 Low: 79

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General Interest

Agents find 8 dead; seize nearly 6.5 tons of marijuana; bust 3 stash houses

us department of homeland securityEDINBURG—U.S. Border Patrol agents from the Rio Grande Valley Sector encountered the remains of eight illegal immigrants, seized an estimated $10.3 million worth of marijuana and busted three stash houses where illegal immigrants were being harbored.

So far for fiscal year 2013, agents have saved the lives of more than 600 illegal immigrants whose lives were in danger due to a variety of circumstances. The number of rescues marks a 132 percent increase over the same time period for the previous fiscal year.

Unfortunately, despite their best efforts and life-saving initiatives such as rescue beacons and the strategic deployment of the Border Patrol Search, Trauma and Rescue team, the harsh environment of south Texas took its toll on eight illegal immigrants over the past week.

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Hidalgo County expands Scofflaw Program to recoup outstanding county and district court fines and fees

Hidalgo-County-SealEDINBURG – In an effort to further recoup monies owed, Hidalgo County began denying vehicle registration services to residents with felony or misdemeanor fines and fees that are 90 days past due.  This new addition to the County’s Scofflaw Program aims to expand efforts to enhance collections by catching “scofflaws” who have skipped out on their obligations.  The expanded Scofflaw Program took effect beginningAugust 14.

Hidalgo County commenced the Scofflaw Program in October 2012, denying vehicle registration services to residents who had outstanding and overdue fines and fees owed to justice of the peace courts; since the program’s inception, over $1 million has been collected either via the online pay portal or at the justices of the peace offices directly.  

The Texas Legislature approved the Scofflaw Program in 1997, which allows county tax assessor-collectors to deny registration of a vehicle if they receive information that the registrant owes the county a past due fine or fee.  The program is a mechanism for counties to chastise “scofflaws,” defined as “contemptuous law violators,” as a means of recouping money that is owed.  

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County, City of Edinburg discuss new courthouse

Hidalgo-County-SealEDINBURG – County commissioners and Edinburg city council members met this week for a workshop to discuss the plans for a new courthouse. The main topic was financing for the now $113 million project.

Last year, the price for a new courthouse was projected at $76 million for a seven-story, 294,000 square foot building. Estimates this week were $92 to $96 million for a nine to 11-story building. Total costs, including engineering, schematic designs and construction, would be around $113 million said Brian Godinez with ERO Architects, the firm working on the schematic designs for the project.

True costs would not be available until the schematic designs are finalized – a process that could take up to two years. After that, construction time could take up to 36 months.

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DPS Reinstates Fired Trooper

Texas Department of Public Safety shieldAUSTIN – Texas Department of Public Safety Director Steven McCraw has reinstated Trooper Jennie Bui after a Brazoria County Grand Jury declined to take any action against her regarding a body cavity search conducted during a traffic stop in May 2012. The Department took preliminary action in June to terminate Trooper Bui shortly after learning about the incident.

“After extensive criminal and administrative investigations surrounding the facts and circumstances of this incident, it was determined that the relatively inexperienced trooper was directed by a more senior trooper to conduct the inappropriate search.  While the actions of Trooper Bui constitute misconduct, I believe her actions are mitigated such that she should not be terminated from the agency. Instead of being discharged, Trooper Bui will be suspended without pay for 60 days and placed on six months disciplinary probation, and will be required to attend additional training regarding arrest, search and seizure,” Director McCraw said.  

Based upon the results of an internal investigation, the more senior trooper, Nathaniel Turner, was terminated.

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Hidalgo County Historical Commission receives Distinguished Service Award

20130809 County-Historical-Commission DistinguishedServiceAward group COHidalgo County Commissioners Court recognized the Hidalgo County Historical Commission last week for receiving the Distinguished Service Award for outstanding preservation work accomplished in 2012.  The Texas Historical Commission gives this award to county historical commissions that successfully manage preservation programs that educate citizens and generate interest in the history and character of Texas. Aleda Ortega, Chairman of the Hidalgo County Historical Commission, received the award and described how countless volunteer hours was the reason for this award.  Also present to receive the award were committee members Kathleen Frye, Harry Rakosky, Alex Moreno, Eddie Olivarez, Maria Leach and Valerie Ramirez. 


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Construction accident at IMAS

McALLEN - The International Museum of Art & Science will be closed for the remainder of Thursday, Aug. 8, 2013, due to a construction accident that occurred on the museum’s grounds just before 11 a.m.

A hired crew was in the process of moving the museum’s wind turbine blade to the north parking lot when a crane tipped over; one crane operator was injured. City of McAllen rescue officials appeared quickly to the site of the accident and were able to rescue the operator.

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Cloud technologies becoming more popular

20130802 Cloud-TechnologyIn the past few years, cloud technologies have become extremely popular for business users; however, they also offer many opportunities for personal users. When people mention “the cloud,” they are referring to storage, services, and software applications that are hosted on the Internet instead of on a local computer, tablet or smart phone.

Most people use the cloud and don’t even realize it. For example, common email services, such as Gmail and Yahoo! Mail provide cloud storage for emails and attachments. Social media sites, such as Facebook, offer message boards, games, media storage, and other cloud services.

The cloud is convenient because it can be accessed from any location and with any device that has Internet access. For example, you can view the same email from your computer at work, your laptop at home, or your smart phone at the beach.

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Longoria to seek re-election in Texas House District 35

Oscar-LongoriaMISSION—Representative Oscar Longoria (D-La Joya) announced Monday that he will seek a second term to the Texas House of Representatives for the Rio Grande Valley, District 35. Longoria is a freshman representative currently serving his first term in Austin.

Longoria’s campaign office said they are not aware of any opponent for this seat at this time. The first day to officially file for the March 4 Primary Election is Nov. 9, and the last day to file is Dec. 9.

Longoria’s House District 35 encompasses both Hidalgo and Cameron Counties in the Rio Grande Valley and includes the cities, or part of the cities of La Joya, Sullivan City, Peñitas, Alton, McAllen, Mission, Edinburg, Monte Alto, Edcouch, La Villa, Mercedes, Weslaco, Santa Rosa, Primera, Palm Valley, Combes, Harlingen, and La Feria.

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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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