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MCISD high school construction updates

20140214 MCISD-Construction-Update-SiteplanMISSION—Timelines for high school construction projects were discussed at the Mission CISD Facilities Committee meeting held last week. Superintendent Ricardo Lopez showed concern over the design development time for the Mission High School Phase III Renovation, which was predicted to last for 11 months.

“Just a clarification—you say this is about standard,” Lopez said. “In my experience, this process only takes about 8 months. It’s not a full 11 or a year. This seems four months too long just from my experience.”

Manuel Hinojosa, with ERO Architects, explained the project planning portion is lengthy due to the complicated nature of the design and regulations that needed to be followed.

Read more: MCISD high school construction updates


Blind tennis moving through Valley

20140211 Blind-Congress JS IMG 6592 featureFirst, about a half dozen children gathered in a circle to review rectangular boards representing the tennis court with braille numbering.

Then, they were led around the gymnasium, bending down to feel a roped taped down to mark the boundaries of the makeshift court. Next, they felt the net after crossing to the other side.

The visually impaired children are part of a movement in the United States to play blind tennis, which was started in Japan in 1984. It’s played just like tennis for those with sight, but servers must first ask if his or her opponent is ready before serving and a special ball that jingles is used.

Eunice Santos, whose 14-year-old son has been blind since birth, said the vision of Miradas de Esperanza, an organization based in Reynosa that is spreading the sport through Tennis for the Blind in Texas, is to participate in the Paralympics in 2020.

Read more: Blind tennis moving through Valley


Efforts underway to stop texting while driving

20140207 MISSION Texting-and-driving-pledge-on-Shary IMG 4080Days after Christmas 2012, a 22-year-old mother and her 11-month old son were killed in a car accident in Alton that also ended the life of the driver of another vehicle.

Two years prior, a 44-year-old woman was killed when she hit a tractor-trailer while driving through Peñitas.

In both cases, the drivers were texting while driving.

“Oprah calls it an epidemic,” said Monica Ramos with Cazares Driving School in a presentation to students at Mission High School. “Pretty much it’s more than an epidemic.”

Read more: Efforts underway to stop texting while driving


City has big dreams for Conway

20140207 Conway Streetscape IMG 6171The idea of the beautifying downtown Mission through the Conway Avenue Streetscape seems trite compared to the transformation city leaders hope to see through the more than $2.5 million project.

Yes, 14 blocks along Conway will see benches, palm trees and pavers, making it more pleasing to the eye and welcoming, but at the groundbreaking Friday, organizers of the project shared big dreams on what the project could do for business in Mission.

“When we first started this project, we thought, ‘Landscaping, trees, lighting—What’s the big deal about this?’” City Manager Martin Garza said. “Let me tell you, it’s a big deal for us. … This is something that is going to hit the heart of the community. We’re talking about dozens of businesses that are going to be affected by this change.”

Read more: City has big dreams for Conway


Steve Peña named CEO of City of Alton Development Corporation

Alton LOGOALTON—Alton is receiving multiple inquiries about development opportunities, according to City Manager Jorge Arcaute. So much so that Assistant City Manager Steve Peña has been promoted to handle development for the city full time.

Peña has been named the CEO for the City of Alton Development Corporation. For the last seven years, Peña has worked as the general manager for the CADC.

“The city manager is creating a very sustainable team to move forward to the next level for Alton,” Peña said. “Part of that was to put me into the economic development realm, full time. So far, this is what we’ve gotten on a part time basis.”

Read more: Steve Peña named CEO of City of Alton Development Corporation


Mission creates more jobs in 2013, sees lowest unemployment rate in five years

City-of-Mission-logoClose to 500 new jobs were created in Mission in 2013 and the city's unemployment dropped to the lowest rate in five years, according to the latest statistics from Texas Workforce Commission.

Mission's annual average unemployment rate sunk to 8.5 percent, the lowest since 2008, and November's 8 percent jobless rate was one the lowest single months for the city in the last five years. Mission's unemployment rate bested both of the Valley's metro areas and is third best in Hidalgo County just behind McAllen and Edinburg. 

"Mission's mayor, the city commission, EDC board and chamber are working together to create more jobs. Mission is an attractive place to grow or relocate your business," said Alex Meade, Mission Economic Development Corporation CEO. "The expansion of Royal Technologies Corporation is a perfect example of that synergy. We are confident that 2014 will continue to be as successful because of that formula." 

Read more: Mission creates more jobs in 2013, sees lowest unemployment rate in five years


Students receive first round of Chromebooks

20140131 Chromebooks-1 featureMISSION— Zayda J. Martinez, a freshman at Mission Collegiate High School, grabbed a Google Chromebook box labeled with her name in delight.

Martinez’s fellow classmates also grabbed brand-new laptops and settled in with their parents to analyze their new educational tools.

On Jan. 23, during a report card night, the Google Chromebooks were distributed in part with the Mission CISD 1 to 1 Technology Pilot Project, which was approved in May 2013.

The MCISD Board approved a purchase of an estimated 1,500 Google Chromebooks that will be received by all freshmen students and sixth graders from K. White Jr. High. The purchase totaled to $462,150.

Read more: Students receive first round of Chromebooks


Conway Streetscape to start by block

City-of-Mission-logoMISSION—City Manager Martin Garza told the Mission Redevelopment Authority Board on Tuesday that constant meetings with business owners are in order with the planned Conway Streetscape Project. He added the city plans to handle construction of the project block-by-block.

“We want to be able to meet to let them know we are there and able address every issue,” Garza said. “As we do one block, we will move to the next block and have a pre-determination meeting on what the business owners should expect on traffic, the amount of time we are going to spend on the east and west side of the roadway and when we anticipate to move on to the next block.”

The City Council awarded the project contract to Highmark Construction last week. Highmark placed the lowest bid at almost $1.9 million.

Read more: Conway Streetscape to start by block


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