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Valley star hopes to shine in Hollywood

20140122-Viviana-Villalon-American-Idol dy-004 featureShe has the look, she has the voice, but it remains to be seen if Viviana Villalon will survive Hollywood.

In just one short moment during the American Idol premiere, Mission resident Villalon made her debut, singing "Love Somebody" by Maroon 5 on a ukulele.

That was all that was shown on television, but Villalon said the judges were wary at first. Jennifer Lopez was on board, but Keith Urban worried Villalon altered the song to cover a lack of range. It wasn’t shown on television, but Villalon put down the ukulele and sang “Marry Me” by Bruno Marks acapella.

The 20-year-old was awarded a ticket to Hollywood with consent of all three judges. She also gained support from across the Valley.

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Split Rail RV Park preps for Parade of Oranges

20140122 TCF-Float-preparations 0846MISSION—Star-shaped slices of cactus and palm tree branches were strewn on the ground outside of the Split Rail RV Park Annex in preparation for a glitzy saloon, fit for a true cowboy.

The Texas Citrus Fiesta Parade is set for Saturday at 3 p.m. with the theme of Western Glitz and Glamour, and Split Rail RV Park resident Bob Baker said this year has proven to be one of the more difficult themes when decorating for the Product Float category.

Residents grouped up and discussed their plans for their float, which must be almost completely covered with fresh fruit, according to rules in the category. When using freshly cut citrus and plants, Ida Czmielewski explained there is a limited amount of time that the fruit stays fresh, leaving the park in a time crunch.

“You have to water the oranges after they are put on the float to keep them from rotting,” Czmielewski said. “Hopefully it doesn’t rain this weekend, because we don’t have a place to store our float.”

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Mission and La Joya natives compete in statewide H-E-B Slim Down Showdown contest

20140124 AREA HEB-Slimdown  0814SHARYLAND—Sharp chest pains and shortness of breath gave Kristina Flores a wake up call on her lifestyle, causing her to apply for the H-E-B Slim Down Showdown.

Flores, a La Joya native, said after visiting a doctor she found her symptoms were related to anxiety. After seeing a commercial for the weight loss competition, Flores said it was a sign.

“I saw the commercial last year and thought I wouldn’t get picked…I’m in a little town from the Valley,” Flores said. “This year I saw the commercial and thought I need to do something. They called us right before Christmas to let us know we were chosen. It was a really good Christmas present for all of us in the competition.”

The H-E-B Slim Down Showdown selected 30 employees and customers out of 4,000 applicants across Texas. The contest began Jan. 6 and will continue for 12 weeks. The contestants will compete to win a $10,000 grand prize or a $5,000 “health hero” prize.

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Streets close for parade, Fun Fair

20140124 TCF PARADEWith the Texas Citrus Fiesta Fun Fair and Parade of Oranges planned Saturday, the City of Mission will close the following streets at the times noted below.

Fun Fair

The Fiesta Fun Fair will be held at Leo Pena Placita Park, from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m.

  • Business 83 at Conway Avenue will be closed all day Saturday, from 9 a.m. until 11 p.m. for the Fun Fair.

Parade of Oranges

The Parade of Oranges route will be along Conway Avenue, starting at FM 495 and proceeding south to 4th Street. Parade line-up will be along Conway between 2 Mile Line and FM 495, so that portion of Conway will be closed from 1 p.m. until the parade is finished.

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Border Patrol recognizes seven students as ‘Head of the Class’

20140124 BP-Head-of-Class-storyMISSION—The U.S. Border Patrol’s Rio Grande Valley Sector recognized the academic excellence of seven local high school students on Jan. 15 as part of its “Head of the Class” program.

The “Head of the Class” is a monthly award to recognize high-achieving seniors at high schools throughout the Rio Grande Valley. Students are nominated by their school counselor and selected by an impartial committee.

So far this academic year the Rio Grande Valley Sector has held four ceremonies and recognized 37 students as “Head of the Class.” The program provides an opportunity to showcase students who are working hard to further their education, many of whom are first-generation college students who also volunteer a significant amount of time to their communities.

The ceremony was hosted by La Joya Independent School District’s Juarez-Lincoln High School. Award recipients included Daniela Chavez of Juarez-Lincoln High; Nancy Garcia of La Joya High; Keyla Marroquin of Palmview High; Ruby Zavala of PSJA Southwest High; Andres Salazar of Rio Grande City High; Marissa Marroquin-Peña of Grulla High; and Aaron Alvarado of San Isidro High.

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MCISD Board approves improvements to athletic facilities

MCISDlogoMISSION—The Mission CISD Board agreed to budget for improvements to Tom Landry Stadium and Leo Najo Baseball Field on Dec. 11.

Roosevelt Rios, coordinator for purchasing, said the district had two options, and each option covered work on the Tom Landry Press Box, stadium bleachers and Leo Najo Baseball Field Bleachers.

“My concern is if you do a renovation or something like that, how do you know what the shelf life is for that,” said trustee Patricia O'Caña-Olivarez. “I know you like to bring us the less expensive option, but we need to know are we going to be spending what we would’ve saved at the end anyway.”

Renovations to the press box total $833,000, while option 2 totaled to almost $1.1 million for a press box with prefab construction. O’Caña-Olivarez said she would rather take the more expensive option if it will save the district money in the long run.

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La Joya fires chief of police

city-of-la-joyaLa Joya officials fired police chief Julian Gutierrez in a special meeting last week with no explanation.

Though the vote was unanimous, members of the La Joya City Commission would not comment on what prompted the move. The termination of the police chief was the only item on the agenda Friday, Jan. 10, and discussion was held in closed session.

City Attorney Roberto Jackson said the city was going in a different direction. No interim or replacement was named.

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MCISD board approved MHS project schematics

20140117 MHS SchematicsMISSION—The Mission CISD Board of Trustees agreed to move forward with a schematic design, provided by ERO Architects, for the Mission High School Phase III project.

ERO Architects presented four options for a new building and renovations for the MHS Phase III project on Dec. 4 at the district’s committee meetings. The district found that “Option D” would be best suited for the campus and the educational program they had created.

In October, Superintendent Ricardo Lopez brought in the idea of using an educational program for the project. The program is a document given to architects with the specific data of sizes, types and numbers of classrooms required for a new building.

The program called for 49 new classrooms, an expansion on the cafeteria and creating a recognizable front entrance for the campus. Lopez stressed that only necessary items would be included in the project with no luxuries.

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