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Wed - Mostly Sunny. High: 93 Low: 77
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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.

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


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.

Read more: Peñitas bids for city hall over budget


Inspiration overpass demolition set to begin March 27

City-of-Mission-logoMISSION—Demolition of the overpass on Inspiration Road and U.S. 83 begins this week, according to an update from TxDOT at the Mission Redevelopment Authority meeting on Tuesday.

Judith Garza-Bozquez with the Texas Department of Transportation said a barrier has already been placed within the project limits, shifting main lane traffic to the outer lanes in preparation for the demolition.

“Currently, we have a contractor on schedule to begin bridge demolition on March 27,” Garza-Bozquez said. “It should take approximately three weeks. Of course that is subject to change.”

Palm trees in the vicinity of the overpass have been removed and planted on Conway Avenue and the Sharyland Golf Course. Garza-Bozquez said TxDOT is encouraging the city to notify citizens about the construction.

Read more: Inspiration overpass demolition set to begin March 27


La Joya to provide wastewater service to more residents

city-of-la-joyaThe City of La Joya is working to provide 140 residents in the western portion of the area with utility service.

The area, known as Havana, currently has septic tanks and City Administrator Mike Alaniz said the city plans to extend wastewater lines to residents. It has applied to the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality to decertify that area, which is currently under the Agua Special Utility District.

At the same time, La Joya is moving forward to construct a 1.2 million gallon per day wastewater treatment plant. The city obtained funding for the $3.5 million project in 2007 through a government loan at 0 percent interest. The plant will be built at the corner of Military Road and Garza, next to the existing lift station. It’ll be an Aero-Mod plant that’s more energy conservative than a traditional plant, Alaniz said.

Read more: La Joya to provide wastewater service to more residents


Progress Times seeks reader feedback

pt-square logoSeveral local elections are on the way, and that means it’s time for voters to choose the direction of the communities in which they live.

We at Progress Times want to know the concerns and questions citizens want addressed as we prepare for Election Day, May 10.

Seats on both the Mission Consolidated Independent School District and Sharyland ISD are both up for election, and they all have competition.

Members of area school boards make decisions that affect everyday life of community members.

Read more: Progress Times seeks reader feedback


Palmhurst approves cameras for PD

20170321 PALMHURST Camera-demo 1606 featureEvery officer in Palmhurst will soon have video footage of every call to which he responds. Tuesday night, the city commission agreed to spend more than $22,000 on point-of-view cameras that each officer will wear on a pair of glasses or on his collar.

Chief Michael Vela said the city's new policy will require officers to turn it on during each call.

“My main focus here is for the officers, the officer safety and the citizens,” Vela said. “If there’s a shooting, the majority of the time it’s just the officer and the suspect.”

The Palmhurst City Council also agreed to pay $91,000 for a new dispatch system that should be more efficient, but city leaders didn't take spending that kind of money lightly.

Read more: Palmhurst approves cameras for PD


La Joya student shows in RGVLS for first time

20140314 AREA Livestock-show 1558 featureTwo hours before showtime, Ellora Vela began to prep her goat for competition Wednesday.

Quickly, she and a classmate realized they needed a halter in order to wash their goats one-on-one. But since they didn’t have one, they helped each other out, first washing one goat while one held it and then washing the other. Vela grabbed a bottle and poured a purple goo onto the goat she’s been caring for for months.

“Is this shampoo?” she asked in surprise seeing it turn the goat’s hair purple. She reached for the bottle to confirm she was doing the right thing.

Read more: La Joya student shows in RGVLS for first time


New chief no stranger to challenges

city-of-la-joyaAt 39, Geovani Hernandez has worked for the Hidalgo County Sheriff’s Office, served on international missions in Kosovo, Afghanistan and Haiti and worked with mental health patients at Tropical Texas Behavioral Center.

His next challenge began this week when he started work as the new city of La Joya police chief Monday.

Out of eight applicants for the job, La Joya Mayor Jose “Fito” Salinas said Hernandez’s experience is just what the city needs. The fact that the new chief has a master’s degree and is working on a Ph.D in psychology helped as well, the mayor said.

“He has worked with young kids in the tropical center, and maybe my heart is toward him because I was a high school principal, and I think our youth in La Joya need a lot of good direction, and I think that he’s the man to do it,” Salinas said.

Read more: New chief no stranger to challenges


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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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