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City of Mission gets Conway Streetscape Project underway

20140214 Mission-Streetscape LDB 6691Construction on the Conway Streetscape Project kicked off this week at Leo Peña Placita Park.

At a meeting with local owners and managers of businesses on the block Friday, Feb. 14, City Manager Martin Garza said the city is starting on the west side of the block in front of the park. There, he said, contractors will put in a demonstration of what the entire project will look like.

“We wanted to make sure that we addressed priorities for them,” Garza said. “We wanted to know what times they open, what times they close, what parking areas do they use the most.”

The $2.6 million project revamps Conway Avenue from First to 14th Streets. It includes benches, pavers, palm trees and new lighting. The project also has been expanded to include a splash pad and a “Welcome to Mission” sign.

Read more: City of Mission gets Conway Streetscape Project underway


Palmhurst takes no action on proposal for park land

2014 PALMHURST-LOGO-170pxThe City of Palmhurst took no action Tuesday on a proposal from their neighbors to purchase 10 acres the city recently acquired across The Mansion on Shary.

Mayor Ramiro Rodriguez said the commission's lack of action killed the offer from local developer Obed Flores, a petroleum engineer who owns the Shary mansion next to city hall.

"They're welcome to come back anytime to make another offer," Rodriguez said. "It was a hard decision, but I think for the community get-together it's going to be great."

Read more: Palmhurst takes no action on proposal for park land


La Joya ISD first-grader dies Thursday in house fire

Edited 20140214 ALTON House fire 1340A 7-year-old girl died Thursday night in a house fire, and several of her family members were taken to area and a San Antonio hospital after trying to save her.

Hidalgo County Sheriff Lupe Treviño said a preliminary investigation indicates a fuse in the breaker box sparked the fire, which spread throughout the home on Bentsen Palm Drive north or Mile 3 Road. This far into the investigation, the sheriff said he sees no criminal culpability.

At the time of the fire, he said eight or nine family members were in the home. All but the girl made it out alive.

Read more: La Joya ISD first-grader dies Thursday in house fire


Mission CISD Board extends superintendent contract

MCISDlogoMISSION—The Mission CISD Board agreed to extend the contract of Superintendent Ricardo Lopez for one year at the regular meeting held Wednesday evening.  

Lopez was approved for hire with MCISD in July 2013. Hailing from El Paso, the superintendent has almost 20 years of experience working in education.

Board Secretary Patty Bazaldua recommended in a motion of the approval for legal counsel to create the new contract for the extension in accordance with the superintendent’s evaluation. The final amendments to Lopez’s compensation also needed to be applied by legal counsel to create the contract that would be signed by Board President Oscar Longoria.

Read more: Mission CISD Board extends superintendent contract


LJISD Board approves two-year contract extension for superintendent

2014 LJIS LOGOThe La Joya Independent School District Board of Trustees unanimously approved a two-year contract extension for Superintendent Alda Benavides at its Wednesday meeting.

Board President Esmer Ochoa said Benavides has put together a comprehensive plan for the district to meet the needs of students. The district has a few instructional needs and the superintendent is working with her team to meet them, she said.

“We’re not where we need to be, but we’re going to get there,” Ochoa said after the meeting.

Board members said they would discuss raises when budget talks come up over the summer.

Read more: LJISD Board approves two-year contract extension for superintendent


Mission pool, center officially open

20140210 MISSION Ribbon-cuttings 1309Mission city leaders waited seven months for the right time to formally announce the community center and natatorium at Bannworth Park open for business.

City Manager Martin Garza said the buildings were preliminarily accepted by the city in June in time for summer use. Also, he said, the city wanted them open in time for the start of the school year. It allowed Sharyland Independent School District to use the pool during the winter.

But, though the buildings have been in use since June, the official ribbon cutting wasn't held until Monday afternoon in conjunction with an exhibition by the International Blind Tennis Congress.

"We reserved the ribbon cutting for this date, knowing that we were working together with the Blind Tennis Congress," Garza said. "We felt that this was a big event being that it's an international exhibition that was taking place."

Read more: Mission pool, center officially open


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


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