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La Joya bypass using partnerships for funding

US-83-La-Joya-Relief-Route-Location-Map-EDINBURG —Hidalgo County and transportation leaders here say they hope a proposed collaborative effort will get the $81 million La Joya bypass project funded and finally constructed after a decade of planning.

On Tuesday, officials with the Hidalgo County Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO) and the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) met with Hidalgo County leaders to discuss the partnership.

TxDOT Area Engineer Mario Jorge calls the La Joya relief route, a bypass through Peñitas to Sullivan City, a much-coveted project.


MPD searching for evidence, stolen items in Kimmons death

20110719_MPD_MFD_Diving_Murder-Investigation_CAB_0010MISSION — Mission police this week combed the area along West 2 Mile Line Road near the home of retired U.S. Border Patrol Agent Willis Spears Kimmons who was found dead last week. The suspects have told officials they got rid of the weapon used in the area.

Police spokesman Sgt. Jody Tittle said the department is trying to find anything that would help the case, even though the suspects have confessed to the crime.

Authorities were unsuccessful in their search using a canine unit and divers in the canal next to the house.


MEDC hires Meade as exec. director

logo_MEDCMISSION — The Mission Economic Development Corporation’s consultant Alex Meade of P3 Economics became its newest executive director this week.

The action was taken at Tuesday’s meeting following executive session.

Meade, who is fluent in Spanish, earned a bachelor of Business Administration in Economics at St. Edward’s University in 1999 and a master’s of Business Administration from the University of Texas-Brownsville in 2006.


TxDOT plans overpass reconstruction at Inspiration Rd.

20110715_MapMISSION — With two major highway projects well underway, Mission is on track to gain approval for yet another major project – the extension of Inspiration Road under Expressway 83 and rebuilding the overpass at that intersection.

The proposed $23.2 million project would connect the north and south portions of Inspiration Road, which are presently interrupted by the expressway. Plans call for construction of a new overpass crossing over Business 83 and Inspiration Road as well as expansion of the expressway from four to six lanes. The project also includes a complete reconstruction of the intersection and frontage roads.


Mission considers banning RVs in driveways

20110715-RVMISSION — A proposal that would ban parked recreational vehicles in front yard driveways was sent back to the Planning and Zoning Commission at Monday’s Mission City Council meeting.

The ordinance stated RVs could only be parked alongside public or private streets for temporary loading or unloading and must be completed within 48 hours.

The ordinance is currently limited to R-1, or large lot, residential areas.


Police ID suspects in retired agent’s death

20110714_Tarbutton-Arista-Arraignment_Kimmon-Murder_CAB_0026MISSION — Mission police have arrested and charged two suspects in connection with the death of Willis Kimmons.

David Tarbutton Jr., 19 and Leroy Arista, 23, were charged with capital murder. Their bonds were set at $5 million each.

Peggy Arista, Leroy’s mother, was also arrested and charged with tampering with evidence.


'Free Lunch' program gets new requirements

20110708_MCISD_SchoolFoodProgram_CavazosElem_JMB_0012MISSION — In December 2010, President Barack Obama signed into law the Healthy, Hunger-Free Act, legislation that provides school children with healthier food options for breakfast and lunch. The act is also supposed to help combat childhood obesity.

Since 2004, Texas has been helping schools provide students with healthier foods. Many Rio Grande Valley school districts, such as Mission, have been preparing for the healthier menu changes that will be mandated by the 2012-2013 school year.

Laura Villarreal, coordinator for the child nutrition program at Region One, said having many Valley schools gradually implement the proposed mandates has been positive for the region.

“We want to make sure the kids and schools get a taste of it now, because soon there won’t be an option,” she said. “In order to continue receiving federal funding we have to follow it 100 percent.”


Culinary business incubator planned for Alton

Alton_LOGOALTON — The city is set to embark on a new program that could help low-income individuals learn to work in the food industry and manage small businesses while helping produce local jobs.

Brought to the city for consideration just two weeks ago, Alton is ready to fully support the idea.

The culinary business incubator (CBI), a relatively new concept, is being modeled after a similar project started last year in San Antonio called “Bake, Broil and Brew.” If approved, Alton’s Culinary Business Incubator would be the first of its kind in the Rio Grande Valley.

Alton Assistant City Manager Steve Peña said the city is working with the University of Texas-Pan American (UTPA), the City of Alton Development Corporation (CADC), the Rio Grande Valley Empowerment Zone (RGVEZ) and Texas A&M on the project, which would teach people how to bake goods for sale, do catering and teach healthy cooking techniques. It would also teach them the bookkeeping skills they need to run a small business.


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