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MCISD using bond monies for AG facility renovations; ECHS

20120420_MissionCISD_two_color_BIGMISSION — Trustees for the Mission Consolidated Independent School District voted to spread remaining funds from a 2008 bond over a number of projects, including the aging agriculture facility and the newly approved Early College High School.

The 2008 bond money, which included construction of a new elementary school for $15 million, has been divided up for different urgent needs in the district after the construction for a new school was no longer needed. Already, the district has reallocated $10 million for major renovations at Mission High School. Before beginning this project, MCISD must first tell the Texas Education Agency what it plans to do with the remaining funds.

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Battling obesity in schools, at home

20120411-LJISD-Healthy-School-Lunch-Program-012Obesity, and in particular, childhood obesity has become a real concern in national media over the past few years. A recent survey done as part of the Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index put the McAllen-Edinburg-Mission metro area at the top of their list for fattest cities in the nation.

To combat the rising rate of obesity, the Food And Drug Administration, school districts, and other organizations are trying to take necessary steps to combat obesity and health concerns.

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Expy. 83/Shary Rd. most congested in county

20120411-cityofmissionrevisedlogoNEWMISSION — The Shary Road and U.S. Expressway 83 intersection is the most congested corridor in Hidalgo County, according to a survey done by the Hidalgo County Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO).

To help accommodate the traffic, Alex Meade, CEO of the Mission Economic Development Corporation (MEDC), asked the Mission City Council to approve a $142,597 expenditure from the new Mission Corridors Infrastructure Fund.

MEDC plans to engage L&G Engineering services for the Shary Road traffic improvement project. The total cost of the project is estimated around $554,190. Meade said about $168,000 would come from the MPO, $234,593 from the Texas Department of Transportation and MEDC paying $142,597 for the project.

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OWLS upset over public comment changes

20120411-HidalgoCountySealEDINBURG — A shift in the arrangement of the Hidalgo County Commissioners’ Court open forum has upset residents who speak weekly to the court about county business.

Previously, the open forum was held after the court approved its consent agenda near the start of the meeting. Now, as of about three weeks ago, commenters must wait until the end of the meeting, after all other county business, excluding matters under executive session like litigation.

“It’s never easy to take criticism, but we feel they should be open to hear our concerns,” said Virginia Townsend, a Mission resident and member of the Objective Watchers of the Legal System (OWLS).

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El Mesias reaches centennial milestone

20120404_El-Mesias-United-Methodist-Church_100th-Anniversary_JB__0023El Mesias United Methodist Church has reached many milestones in its collective 100-year history.  The most significant ones are intertwined in the influence it has in the lives of steadfast members.

In celebration, the public is invited to join the congregation in marking their centennial year with three days of celebration Friday through Sunday, April 13 to 15, according to Rev. Robert Lopez, the current pastor.

Graciela de la Garza, age 78, has seen the influence of the church on four generations of her family.  Her grandmother led the way, and she has been a member of the church all her life, as was her mother. Her children grew up in the church and her family members who still live in Mission also attend the church.

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Judge: Proper infrastructure critical for county

20120329-Hidalgo-County-Annual-Report-012PHARR — Hidalgo County Judge Ramon Garcia said the county’s drainage is one of the key initiatives in his administration at last week’s State of the County where elected officials discussed the progress and goals of the region.

“A good drainage system is badly needed,” he told the audience of elected officials, including city and school officials.

Drainage is one of the three infrastructure improvements needed here, he said. The others are transportation improvements and the renovation of the historic courthouse building.

The county’s drainage advisory committee is nearing the completion of its improvement plan. The committee serves as a link between stakeholders and residents – a mix of elected officials and community and business leaders – in the development and planning of the plan, officials said.

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UPX and STC partner to serve the community

20120406_UPX_LEG3757MISSION — The University of Phoenix (UPX) and South Texas College (STC) developed an academic partnership to encourage STC students to continue their education at UPX.

This partnership is the fifth of its kind in the nation UPX has developed in a community focused on serving its people.

Through the enterprise, UPX and STC will work with businesses and leaders in the area to identify workforce needs. The school will develop focused curriculum and career pathways to address workforce skills gaps in the Rio Grande Valley.

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LJISD board gets updates on health insurance, truancy

20120406_La_Joya_ISD_LogoLA JOYA — The La Joya Independent School District board was updated on prescription drugs benefits in the district’s health insurance plan and truancy statistics at last week’s board meeting.

The board received additional information about the drug benefits after a misunderstanding on how the plan works. There were concerns on the cost of prescriptions purchased through the plan.

Co-pays for prescription drugs had recently changed, confusing employees. Previously, co-pays for prescription drugs were a flat rate. Now, employees have to pay 20 to 30 percent of the cost of a prescription drug.

Board Member Espie Ochoa said employees needed to be better informed of these changes. She said she had fielded several calls about the higher amount employees are now asking to pay.

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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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