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Fair, 80 F

Forecast:
Fri - Mostly Sunny. High: 102 Low: 77
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General Interest

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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Soiree to benefit ocelot preservation

20140304 OcelotBROWNSVILLE – The Friends of the Laguna Wildlife Refuge and Gladys Porter Zoo invite the public to Ocelot Soiree, an intimate evening with an ocelot, on Friday, March 7, 2014 from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. at Gladys Porter Zoo. The soiree is planned in conjunction with the Ocelot Conservation Day at the zoo on March 8 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Soiree attendees will enjoy beverages and hors d’oeuvres, world music by Adrian Foncerrada, a private show by Sihil, the Cincinnati Zoo’s ocelot, an ocelot-inspired auction and an ocelot update by U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service biologist.

Tickets for the soiree are $50 per person. Proceeds will help the Friends of Laguna Atascosa National Wildlife Refuge and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to raise money for education and conservation efforts to ensure the long-term survival of ocelots in the Rio Grande Valley.

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UTPA Graduate Fair is March 6

UTPA-logoEDINBURG – The University of Texas-Pan American invites potential graduate students to their annual Graduate Fair from 5 to 6 p.m. on Thursday, March 6, at the Community Engagement and Student Success Building, 1407 E. Freddy Gonzalez Drive.

UTPA offers 55 master’s degrees, three doctoral and two cooperative doctoral programs. Participants will speak directly with faculty and receive assistance from professional admissions and financial aid counselors who will assist with admissions applications, financial aid and scholarship funding.

Participants are encouraged to register online www.utpa.edu/gradschool for a chance to win a $200 scholarship toward their graduate studies.

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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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