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Fair, 77 F

Forecast:
Tue - Sunny. High: 103 Low: 75
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Forgotten Friends works to save dogs

20140328 Nonprofit-dog-photos  7122 featureEight black puppies piled onto each other for naptime Friday morning in cage in a back room at Smith Ranch Kennels in Los Fresnos.

Their mother was a stray who’d had several litters before, but Christine Compton, president of Mission-based Forgotten Friends Texas Rescue RGV, rescued these lucky pups two weeks earlier. There were originally nine, but one foster family decided to keep its pup.

The agency works with Smith Ranch Kennels to send dozens of dogs from around the Valley to shelters in states around the country through the ASPCA.

“The only reason we could do this was because we had grant money. But this time there is no money. We’re still going to apply,” Compton said, adding that several fundraising ideas have fallen through because there aren’t enough people to help them. “I’m just so tired of begging people for money. I want somebody else to do it.”

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2 challenge Salinas for Mission mayor title

20140404 Mayor-Candidates-for-webAfter 16 years at the helm of the City of Mission, Mayor Norberto “Beto” Salinas has said he’s not ready to quit just yet.

But two Mission residents both say it’s time for change and unity in the city. Dr. John Robert Guerra and businessman Jaime Gutierrez are opposing Salinas in his bid for re-election.

“I truly believe we have to renew,” Gutierrez said. “Whatever doesn’t renew, it stays in the same place. It’s time to open scenarios for new generations. This generation is not here to divide. We’re not here to break down what has been done; it’s to take it to another level.”

“We want to be able to treat everybody fairly and equally,” Guerra said of his own bid for the seat. “I’d like to have a city government that is of the people, by the people, for the people. His (Salinas’s) poster says ‘one mission,’ instead of ‘our mission.’”

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Mission hires San Juan city manager for deputy position

City-of-Mission-logoSan Juan Deputy City Manager J.J. Rodriguez will take over as Mission’s deputy city manager April 9.

“One of the things that stood out for Mr. Rodriguez is his experience—the fact that he worked at an organization that is very similar to us as far as population, size, growth,” said Mission City Manager Martin Garza.

Rodriguez served as city manager of Edinburg before moving to San Juan in 2010. Overall, Garza said, Rodriguez spent 22 years with Edinburg, and that tells him Rodriguez will be committed to the organization. He began as an intern in the Edinburg planning department and worked his way up to deputy city planner before he was named to the post of city manager.

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Mission CISD committee hears construction updates

MCISDlogoMISSION—Members of the Mission CISD Facilities Committee discussed the status of upcoming and pending projects for the district on Wednesday evening. 

Mission High School 

ERO Architects gave an update on the planning for the Mission High School Phase III project. Manuel Hinojosa with ERO Architects stated they have spent multiple hours with the MHS principal, staff and facilities administration to detail the specific needs.  

“What happens now is a lot of testing of what we put together starts to be put into play,” Hinojosa said. “We have met with the cafeteria department, nursing department and special education department.” 

Hinojosa said the company also has met with city officials and brought in consultants to follow guidelines. He added by the next board meeting in May they would have plans ready for board approval.

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Howling Trails: La Joya ISD drops $5 million on golf course

20140328 Martin Valley Golf lg-26 featureMartin Valley Ranch Golf Course soon will be Howling Trails Golf Course as La Joya ISD is expected to close on purchasing the property this week at a $5 million price tag.

La Joya Independent School District Board of Trustees approved the new name and logo for the golf course at a meeting Monday. The owners of the golf course approached the school district last year to suggest the property when La Joya ISD board members first started talking about a natatorium.

“The idea is to expand our golf program and to provide more opportunities for our kids so we can keep our kids off the street and engaged in other things,” Superintendent Alda Benavides said when the board first agreed to negotiate the sale.

The board now will move plans for the $9 million natatorium to the site, where they also plan to have tennis courts, a student learning assistance center, fields for science experiments and possibly a planetarium.

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MCISD, city study pool improvements

MCISDlogoMISSION—The Mission CISD Board of Trustees discussed the use of the North Side Swimming Pool at the March regular board meeting.

Issues with heating, drainage and filtration maintenance have left the facility inoperable for student practice.

The board discussed and agreed on a memorandum of understanding with the city of Mission to conduct a feasibility study to correct issues.

“Just to let the community know that we do have a contract with the city of Mission, as far as the swimming pool is concerned, for 50 years,” said trustee James E. Olivarez.

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AMJH teacher a finalist for H-E-B Excellence in Education

20140328 rosbelpenaAlton Memorial Jr. High School Math teacher Rosbel Peña had a surprise visit this morning by representatives from H-E-B. He is one of six South Texas educators to be named as a finalist for a 2014 H-E-B Excellence in Education Award, spotlighting him as one of the best educators in Texas.

The H-E-B program is the largest monetary awards program for educators in Texas, and among the largest in the nation. The honor was kept a surprise from Peña, who learned he was a finalist when the H-E-B representatives visited his classroom with balloons, cake, flowers and a check for $1,000. AMJH also received a $1,000 check.

Peña is entered as a finalist for the Lifetime Achievement Award that salutes teachers with more than 20 years of experience. He will travel to Houston, Texas in early May to compete on a statewide level for larger cash prizes. Winners there will each receive $25,000 in cash for themselves and a $25,000 grant for the school.

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Peñitas bids for city hall over budget

City-of-Penitas-logoAll five bids Peñitas received to construct a new city hall and police station were over the city's $3 million budget.

The lowest bid, from Highmark Construction, was about $4.3 million, and the highest, from Foremost Construction, was $5.2 million. Other bids came from J Con Construction, Texas Descon and Col Air Inc., and ranged from $4.4 million to $5 million.

City Secretary Ana Valdez said the city would look at rebidding the project.

In July, the city announced a $3 million loan from the U.S. Department of Agriculture for rural development to replace the city's deteriorating city hall and police department. Currently, city staff and the police department are stuffed into a manufactured building next to the library.

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