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STC unveils virtual campus

20110809-eSTC-001McALLEN — South Texas College launched the eSTC Virtual Campus, its sixth site, on Tuesday promising to offer a broad range of courses across academic disciplines that will also allow students to connect to all departments via live chat.

“The Internet has transformed every facet of our lives,” said STC President Shirley A. Reed. “In a brave move that few colleges have dared to take, we are offering every service available to our traditional campus students – all online.”

STC’s distance learning program started in 1997, stretching the McAllen-based college’s services to Weslaco and Rio Grande City. Since the school’s inception in 1993, reaching long-distance students has been a goal, said Juan E. Mejia, STC vice president for academic affairs.

“Now with the use of technology and increased demand, we can help students receive a degree 100 percent online,” he explained.

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‘Operation Clean Slate’

20110812_OPERATION-CLEAN-SLATEEDINBURG — In the ongoing attempt to collect on fines and fees due to Hidalgo County, leaders said they were moving one step closer to finally collecting by developing a new initiative that would allow individuals to pay their overdue fees using the Internet.

On Tuesday at Hidalgo County Commissioners’ Court, officials unanimously approved the creation of “Operation Clean Slate,” a three-phase initiative that could help the county collect on millions of dollars.

“It’s an exciting time to see something moving forward,” said Precinct 4 Commissioner Joseph Palacios.

In the Justices of the Peace department, the county is owed over $40 million, administrators said this week. Previously, officials said the county is owed around $70 million in total, but the JPs offices are owed the biggest amount.

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Shoot-out, cook-off slated as ‘Alligator Round-Up’ returns to Resaca City

The San Benito Chamber of Commerce will host the Rio Grande Valley Sportsman’s Expo on Aug. 20 in San Benito.  The events consist of the Centennial Skeet Shoot-Out/Cook-Off/Alligator Gar Round-Up and Market Day at the San Benito Fairgrounds on FM 510.

Pre-registration for the event can be made by emailing This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it or calling Zeke Padilla at 399-5321. On-site registration begins at 8 a.m. the day of the event. The first shot will be fired at 8:45 a.m. and no teams will be allowed after 10 a.m.

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TEA names La Joya ISD recognized district

20110805_IMG_0648_PRLA JOYA – The last time La Joya Independent School District (LJISD) received a recognized status from the Texas Education Agency (TEA) for their test scores was in 2001. After 10 years, the district has finally received what they have been trying so hard to achieve – a recognized status for the district.

Last year, one elementary received an “unacceptable” rating from TEA, six elementaries received “exemplary” status, and Palmview High School, six middle schools and 11 elementaries received “recognized” status.

This year, the College Transition Academy was the only La Joya school to receive an exemplary status. Eighteen campuses again received a recognized status and 16 were labeled as academically acceptable, compared to just seven campuses rated “acceptable” last year.

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Pantry feeds families in need

20110805_JOE_GARCIA_MissionFoodPantry_ECMThe shelves are quite bare at the Mission Food Pantry, but Joe Garcia, assistant manager, is about to head to the grocery store to purchase food to restock the shelves.

“Tomorrow [Tuesday] is going to be a busy day,” he says.

Every Tuesday and Thursday the Mission Food Pantry is filled with dozens of families pouring in to receive food. Each month approximately 2,500 men, women and children rely on food provided by the pantry. And these people are not just from Mission, but also from the surrounding areas like Palmview and Alton, as well as the colonias in Western Hidalgo County.

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Leadership Mission class unveils ambulance project

20110805_MRMC_NeonatalTransport_LeadershipMission_CAB_0047MISSION – The newest asset for the Mission Regional Medical Center’s Neonate and Pediatric Transport Team was unveiled Tuesday—an ambulance equipped especially for transporting premature infants and pediatric patients. This was the culmination of a service project begun last November by the Leadership Mission Class XXVIII (28).

The class started raising funds for the project last November with a goal of $10,000. Through several fundraisers, they were able to raise nearly $9,000. Kristina Silva, recent past president of Leadership Mission, said the group chose the transport team after lengthy research.

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ERCOT calls for electricity conservation; Texas breaks peak demand record again

20110803_OutletRecord power use expected again Wednesday

Conservation needed all week

AUSTIN -- The Electric Reliability Council of Texas, Inc. (ERCOT), system operator for the state’s bulk transmission grid, again set a new electricity demand record with 67,929 megawatts (MW) Tuesday between 4 and 5 p.m. and is expecting to break the record again Wednesday.

“Due to the high temperatures and high electricity usage expected this week, we are continuing to request that consumers and businesses reduce their electricity use during peak electricity hours from 3 to 7 p.m. for the remainder of the week,” said Kent Saathoff, vice president of system planning and operations.

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Operation Lone Star brings free medical care to Valley communities

20110726_Lonestar_0360PALMVIEW – Operation Lone Star (OLS) began its first week of activities with four locations in the Valley – Brownsville, San Juan, Rio Grande City and Palmview. Next week the program will offer services in Hebbronville and Laredo.

Nearly 400 parents, children and elderly walked through the doors of Palmview High School to receive free medical services on Monday, July 25, OLS’s first day of operations. As of 9 a.m. Tuesday morning, the facility had already registered and seen 157 people.

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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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