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Mission halts dependent insurance

MISSION —The Mission City Council clarified its intention to seek different health insurance provider for the next fiscal year to pay premiums only for employees, not their dependents.

Mayor Norberto "Beto" Salinas on Monday said he checked around the Rio Grande Valley and found that with the exception of Hidalgo County, none of the cities or school districts supplemented the cost of dependent health insurance.

"We simply cannot afford to continue doing so," said the mayor. "The cost of dependent care has risen to $900 to $1,000 a family.... We are going to work with an insurance broker to find a policy that will provide affordable dependent insurance to our employees next year."

Read more: Mission halts dependent insurance


County VSO earns achievement award

EDINBURG — Last week officials announced that Hidalgo County Veterans Service Office Director Emilio de los Santos was recognized with the 2010 Dan Garcia Memorial Achievement Award from the Veterans County Service Officers Association of Texas for going beyond the call of duty to serve South Texas veterans and their families.

Only one such award is merited each year to a VSO who exhibits sustained superior performance, is actively involved in community affairs and patriotic activities and who is constantly educating themselves to improve the quality of life for veterans. De Los Santos was also recently appointed by President Barack Obama to serve on the Selective Service System Local Board, meaning in the case of any future military draft, he would sit on a committee that determines whether a prospect would receive a deferment, postponement or exemption from service.

Read more: County VSO earns achievement award


Police: Gun wielding teen robbed peers

MISSION — Cesar Villegas, 17, accused of pointing a gun at teenagers demanding money and cell phones was dumbfounded to hear from Mission Municipal Judge Jonathan Wehrmeister that he could face up to life in prison during his arraignment on five charges of armed burglary on Nov. 12.

Villegas and the other three suspects have confessed to other crimes in the Mission, McAllen, Pharr and San Juan areas, police said. Other items were found in the suspect’s vehicle that might lead to other crimes committed within the past two weeks. Villegas was arrested in connection with burglaries that occurred on Nov. 11.

Read more: Police: Gun wielding teen robbed peers


Hidalgo Co. RMA board installs new members

20101119_COUNTY_Hidalgo-Co.-RMA-board-installs-new-members_EPG_MUSTAlonzo-Cantu_Forrest-RunnelsWESLACO — Two new members were welcomed to the Hidalgo County Regional Mobility Authority board last week in a workshop meeting to acquaint their members with new projects, including vital funding issues.

McAllen residents Alonzo Cantú and Forrest Runnels were given the oath of office by Sen. Juan “Chuy” Hinojosa, D-McAllen, at a Nov. 10 meeting. Cantú, a real estate developer, was appointed by former Interim Hidalgo County Judge Rene A. Ramirez while Runnels was appointed by Precinct 4 Commissioner Oscar Garza Jr. and Commissioner-Elect Joseph Palacios.

Read more: Hidalgo Co. RMA board installs new members


Palmhurst denies re-zoning request for business

PALMHURST — A family’s request to revamp a defunct dancehall along 3 Mile Line Road was denied this week, prompting family members to say they had no other options in paying $5,000 for their taxes.

Norma Perez said she wanted to re-establish her husband’s dancehall on a property the couple had owned for over 15 years. Before his death she said he had wanted to reopen the business and expand on the already existing building of their property that sits in between Trosper and Los Ebanos roads.

Read more: Palmhurst denies re-zoning request for business


SHS student killed in November 16th shooting

MISSION — A teenager died Tuesday night in a McAllen hospital after he and another man were dropped off with gunshot wounds, police said.

Mission Police Chief Leo Longoria said Efrain Reyna, 17, of Mission was killed in the shooting at Glasscock and Trinity roads in The Cimarron neighborhood. Reyna was a student at Sharyland High School.

Read more: SHS student killed in November 16th shooting


Winter Texans spend $802.5 million

20101115_MissionB_0019The 2010 Winter Texan Survey, published bi-annually by the University of Texas-Pan American (UTPA), reports that an overwhelming majority of Winter Texans plan to return to the Rio Grande Valley this season. The study also reveals that Winter Texans spent more money in the Valley last year and stayed longer than two years ago.

Some 96.9 percent of study participants said they would return next year. Those who might not return cited “poor health (72.2 percent) or family concerns (40.5 percent) would be the most likely reasons to prevent them from returning.”

While some Winter Texans are concerned with terrorism or threat of violence (21.2 percent), most resorts are reporting that their reservations for the 2010-11 season are either about the same or better than last year’s reservations. Most resorts are reporting that they will not be sponsoring trips to Mexico this season, however.

Read more: Winter Texans spend $802.5 million


Legislation filed to stop use of road spikes by drug cartels

20101112_BORDER-PATROL_Legislation-filedAUSTIN — State Rep. Aaron Peña has filed legislation on Monday that will outlaw the use, possession and manufacture of caltrops, more commonly known as road spikes.  Other border security legislation filed by Peña includes the creation of southbound checkpoints along the border to stop the flow of illegal cash and weapons into Mexico.

As chair of the House Committee on Emergency Preparedness, Peña has been holding hearings across the state of Texas assessing natural and criminal threats to public safety.  At the hearings and in subsequent meetings with border law enforcement the committee heard of drug runners increasing their use of road spikes against law enforcement. Typically these devices are crude and homemade but very effective. They pose a serious threat to the lives of law enforcement and innocent bystanders caught in the vicinity of a pursuit.

Read more: Legislation filed to stop use of road spikes by drug cartels


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