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Fair, 78 F

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Alleged driver in auto-ped fatality faces criminal negligent homicide charge

20140307 Carmen-Gonzalez-VelezInvestigators with the Department of Public Safety arrested the woman they believe was driving the car that struck and killed 16-year-old Brenda Cuellar, who was exiting a school bus Feb. 24.

Carmen Gonzalez-Velez, 36, of Mission, faces a charge of suspicion of criminal negligent homicide, a state jail felony. She is being held at the Hidalgo County Jail under a $100,000 bond.

Cuellar, who played for the Palmview High School’s junior varsity soccer team, was coming home from practice when she exited the school bus on La Homa Road south of 4 Mile Line at about 7:30 p.m. The bus’s flashing lights were activated and the vehicle was facing south when Cuellar attempted to cross the road.

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Mayor Salinas seeks re-election

20140307 Beto-SalinasFor the last 16 years, Norberto “Beto” Salinas has been committed to the citizens of Mission serving as the mayor.

“I’m not ready to quit just yet. There are still many projects that I’d like to get done for our community,” he said. “During the last three terms, I have focused on reducing property taxes, improving the city’s infrastructure, creating jobs and bringing in new businesses into our community. To date, the city’s property taxes have dropped almost 15 percent since 1998, and I’ll be working to reduce them even further.”

Salinas has been the biggest advocate for the underprivileged and the elderly. Year after year, he has recommended that approximately 75 percent of the funds allocated to the City from U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) be strictly for the use of reconstructing or rehabilitating homes for low-income families.

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Ag students prepare for RGV Livestock Show

20140307 STAR-livestock 0274 featureSHARYLAND—Sharyland High School Senior Kayla Marek admits her time with the Future Farmers of America program will be hard to let go of once she graduates this year. The many hours spent feeding, walking and grooming her livestock passed quickly, and she is saddened about leaving the animals she loves.

Multiple students in Hidalgo County competed in the South Texas Agricultural Roundup Livestock Show, which ran from Feb. 26-March 1, and are gearing up for the Rio Grande Valley Livestock Show in Mercedes, which kicks off Friday, March 7.

Sharyland High School students have prepped animals year round for both shows.

Marek took grand champion for her market steer at the STAR show. Market stock is set for sale after the shows, while breeding stock can be used for reproducing.

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Rodriguez leads Hidalgo County District Attorney's race

Hidalgo-County-SealWhen early voting results were released after polls closed at 7 p.m., Rodriguez had a lead in the race for Hidalgo County District Attorney with 63 percent of the votes to Rene Guerra's 37 percent.

Four years ago, 30,576 people cast a ballot during early voting, compared to 37,674 this year.

Other early voting results were:

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Sheriff’s office investigates home invasion near La Joya

20140228 Ramirez-Emilio-De-jesusThree men in ski masks kicked down the front door of a home north of La Joya Tuesday morning, according to a news release from the Hidalgo County Sheriff’s Office.

At about 2:20 a.m. in the 17000 block of Washington Palm, a 39-year-old woman said the men came in with a hand gun and demanded money. They took her purse and cell phone and took off in a Lincoln Navigator, states the news release.

Deputies responded to the report and saw the vehicle at 3 Mile Line and Western Road. After a short pursuit, the vehicle stopped at 5 Mile Line and Brushline Road and its occupants bailed out, running into the brush.

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Palmview High soccer player dies in auto-pedestrian incident

20140228 Brenda-CuellarA 16-year-old Palmview High School student was struck and killed in an auto-pedestrian incident after getting off a bus Monday night.

Brenda Cuellar, who played for the school’s junior varsity soccer team, was coming home from practice when she exited the school bus on La Homa Road south of 4 Mile Line at about 7:30 p.m., according to the Texas Department of Public Safety. The bus’s flashing lights were activated and the vehicle was facing south when Cuellar attempted to cross the road.

According to DPS, the driver, a 36-year-old female Mission resident driving a Chevrolet Cobalt, was headed north on La Homa and didn’t stop for the bus while it was unloading. The driver stopped a few yards away, and was transported to Mission Regional Hospital with minor injuries.

Minutes before she was struck, Cuellar posted “#exhausted… Pero ahi sigo jugando soccer <3” on Twitter.

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Councilwoman announces re-election campaign

20140226 Maria-Elena-RamirezMaria Elena Ramirez, widow of former Councilman Celestino Ramirez, has been a full-time Mission city councilwoman since 2009.

After more than four years of dedicated service, Ramirez has announced her candidacy for re-election for Mission City Council Place 1.

“It has been an honor serving my community and working diligently with Mayor Beto Salinas, and the rest of the council, to spur economic growth for Mission,” Ramirez said. “Although much has been accomplished in this short term, there is still more progress to be achieved.”

Ramirez was born and raised in Mission and has dedicated more than 26 years of her career as an educator to the Mission Consolidated Independent School District. Mission not only has impacted her life, but it has left a lasting imprint on her children; all four of Ramirez’s children have decided to raise their families in Mission (Celestino “Tino” Ramirez Jr., married to Melanie Ruiz; Anita Ramirez, married to Eduardo Rivera; Sylvia Ramirez married to Abiel Flores; Hector Ramirez married to Samantha Salinas).

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La Joya ISD athletic director to get award

20140228 Victor-GarzaVictor Garza credits athletics for giving him a free education.

He started out playing baseball and basketball for La Joya High School before earning scholarships to pay his way through Texas Southmost College and the Pan American University.

Now the athletic director of La Joya Independent School District, Garza said he leads a different type of team, but a team nonetheless.

“Above all, our team has a big impact on the greater team of the district, which is working for overall academic success,” Garza said. “Athletics, fine arts and UIL academics— we’re the No. 1 dropout prevention programs.”

Garza will be honored during the Texas High School Athletic Directors Association state conference, March 1-5, as Athletic Administrator of the Year for Region VII. This is only the second year for the awards, which honor one athletic director from each of the association’s eight regions. Region VII stretches from west of the Laredo area down through the Rio Grande Valley and north past Corpus Christi.

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