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Fair, 101 F

Wed - Sunny. High: 103 Low: 78
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Mission city employees hand out gifts

20131220 MISSION Toy-giveaway 0714St. Nick arrived like a rock star.

Dressed in what can only be described as the trendiest look of the holiday season, Santa wore red velvet pants trimmed in white and a matching jacket and hat. The jolly portly figure rode in on an all-terrain vehicle surrounded by law enforcement and trailed by children of all ages, eager to get a photo with the worldwide celebrity in his busiest time of the year.

In an unprecedented move, Mission city employees banded together to organize the event, a toy giveaway for the community's children in its 12th year on Friday, Dec. 20. Until this year, the event was organized solely by the Mission Police Department. It was made possible through the work of city employees, organizations like Crime Stoppers and donations from area businesses and members of the community. Even the entertainment was donated.

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Mission families enjoy church snow day

20131214 Snow Day Conway Ave Baptist Church AF 4893 featureMISSION—Children threw snowballs, made snow angels and sipped on hot chocolate to keep warm early Saturday. With morning temperatures in the 60s, it was very much a South Texas winter wonderland.

Members of the Conway Avenue Baptist Church poured out 6,000 pounds of snow for local children to have a taste of a white Christmas. Members of the church and visitors put on their coats and mittens, and then spent their morning playing in snow, which was a first for many of the attendees.

Griselda Garza, mother of four daughters, said she is originally from Chicago, Ill. She grew up around snow, and she wanted her daughters to experience the snow at a young age.

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MHS staff recognized for acting as first responders, saving student’s life

20131211 MCISD-Meeting-boy-who-collapsed IMG 4731MISSION—Superintendent Ricardo Lopez recognized Mission High School staff members who acted as first responders to save a student’s life at the regular board meeting for Mission CISD on Dec. 11.

Student Rene Diaz Jr. collapsed on Oct. 31 during basketball practice, according to Craig Verley, public information officer.

“They had a student that morning collapse in the gym and was unresponsive,” Verley said. “He is actually sitting with us in this room this evening, due in part to the actions of these individuals here.”

The staff members that were recognized included: Rogers Brown, Hosea Henderson III, Everardo Castellano Jr., Robert Aparicio, Janelle Hernandez and Elizabeth Ponce. Students who assisted were Jose Garcia, Jesus Cuellar, Caleb Oviedo and Adrian Cerda.

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Alton parade grows with city

20131214 ALTON Christmas-parade IMG 0051Early on, it looked like rain would threaten the eighth annual Alton Christmas parade, but by 11 a.m. the skies cleared up, giving way to only slightly cool temperatures.

Families happily lined 5 Mile Road, sitting on bleachers and curbs, ready for the action, as Alton city officials lined up floats down the road. The sirens of emergency vehicles announced the procession, which city leaders boasted included 50 percent more entries than last year.

Seated in a float made to look like a train car (“City of Alton named after the Alton Railroad” a banner states), Miss Alton 2014 in a blue sequined evening gown waved to the crowd. Dancers from Domingo Treviño Middle School with pom poms at their sides led the way for the Husky band behind Miss Alton.

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Primera Baptist Church to host Christmas party

20131214 MISSION Primera-Baptist-program IMG 0411Primera Baptist Church has been hosting Christmas performances for years, decades even, but this year it literally starts with a bang—a drummer’s solo leading into a rendition of the “Little Drummer Boy.”

Pastor Eli Sanchez said the goal is to have a Christmas party, not another program.

“We wanted to make it fun, but we also wanted to have a message,” he said.

Church leaders recruited talent from across the congregation, and the result is heavy on percussion with three drummers who dominate the party, an adult choir and dancing children. The entire church is represented well, Sanchez said, which reflects their stance that church is for everyone.

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Alton to get fire equipment, swears in new municipal court judge

Alton LOGOThe Alton City Commission agreed to move more than $230,000 toward the purchase of fire equipment in a quick meeting Tuesday evening.

City Manager Jorge Arcaute also announced the city has received three grants totaling $75,000, mostly for a radio system, from the Lower Rio Grande Development Council. He said construction of the building is behind schedule, but steel beams were delivered this week for the structure and it should move forward now.

The $230,000 is coming from leftover funding provided by Urban County and originally slated for street improvement projects from 2009 to 2012.

But the crowd at the meeting Tuesday that caused city officials to bring in additional seating wasn’t there to hear about the new fire station. After the city commission adjourned its meeting, Patricia O’Caña-Olivarez was sworn in as the city’s alternate municipal judge. O’Caña-Olivarez, also a member of the Mission Consolidated Independent School District School Board, said she and her family were raised to be a part of the community.

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Mission area schoolchildren donate to needy

MCISDlogoMission area schoolchildren are learning more than reading, writing and arithmetic. During the Thanksgiving and Christmas seasons, they are also learning the value of giving and helping those less fortunate.

Every school campus in the Mission Consolidated Independent School District has identified some way of helping the needy. For Thanksgiving, many of the campuses conducted food drives, donating thousands of food items to the Food Bank of the RGV or to the Mission Food Pantry. Others provided Thanksgiving baskets or meals for families in need, said Craig Verley. MCISD director of Public Relations.

Mission High School and Veterans Memorial High School participated in a food drive for the Mission Food Pantry, donating over 2,000 food items. The Pantry also benefitted from food drives by Sharyland schools, including John H. Shary Jr. High and B.L. Gray Jr. High. Some day cares are even teaching valuable lessons about sharing and giving; Apple Tree Day Care donated 125 items.

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Mission gathers to light Christmas tree

20131206 MISSION Christmas-tree-lighting JS IMG 4580Temperatures dipped down to the 40s Friday evening, adding to the holiday atmosphere as Mission city leaders and families held the annual tree lighting ceremony at Leo Peña Placita Park.

Children bundled up, many wrapped in blankets on top of warm jackets, waited in line to see Santa. Adults warmed their hands on coffee and hot chocolate, and enjoyed performances by the Juan Diego Academy Liturgical Society, Veterans Memorial High School folklorico and more.

“I didn’t get a reindeer, but I got a reindog,” said Father Roy Snipes, of Our Lady of Guadalupe Church, as he took the microphone to offer a prayer before the ceremony. Bandito, Snipes’ dog often at his side in public events, wore a Santa outfit.

“It’s a Christmassy night in the old neighborhood,” Snipes said.

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