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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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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.

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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.

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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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