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Freedom Life Church gives the extra mile

20131123 MISSION Giving-the-extra-mile IMG 3923Members of Freedom Life Church dug into their own pockets to provide 250 strangers with free gas Saturday morning at Leo’s gas station at the corner of W. Griffin Parkway and Inspiration Road.

Dozens donned scarves, beanies and coats to deliver $5 gas vouchers to unsuspecting drivers pulling into the station. Some volunteered to wash windshields as drivers pumped gas. Even after the group cheered as the last gas voucher was handed out just after noon, teens continued to wash windshields of incoming vehicles.

“We just really wanted to show them that we love our community; we love our area,” said Penny Cruz, associate pastor at the church under Eliud and Cathy Garcia, senior pastors. “We love people, and it’s been so awesome looking at the people’s faces like, ‘Why are you doing this?’ Because, just because we have a heart for the people.”

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City of Mission shares the blessing

20131122 MISSION Turkeys-delivered JS IMG 3913A caravan of Mission fire trucks, police units and other vehicles slowly made its way into a trailer park off Mile 2 and Trosper roads. Each vehicle was loaded down with boxes of turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes and vegetables, almost everything families would need to put together a Thanksgiving Day meal.

Residents stood outside their homes—most of them old RVs that had been immobile years ago—braving the 40-degree temperatures and light rain. Fifty families in the small community had one more thing to be grateful for as they broke bread Thursday.

It’s a Thanksgiving tradition for the Mission Police Department that goes back at least a decade, and this year several city departments got involved. Even Mayor Norbeto Salinas was a part of the convoy that parked along the dirt road that winds through the trailer park.

“We feel that we needed to do something like this for these types of families, getting to some of the most poorest people that we have,” Salinas said.

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La Joya ISD addresses reading skills

LA-JOYA-LOGOLa Joya ISD board members heard reports Tuesday reading assessments given to kindergarten, first- and second-grade students at the beginning of the year.

As part of the Texas Education Code, the assessments must be done at the beginning, middle and end of the year and the results must be shared with the La Joya Independent School District Board of Trustees.

The tests assess skills like chronological awareness, reading comprehension and accuracy. In La Joya, the majority of students are in the dual language program and took Tejas Lee, which tests them in Spanish. Most of those students had difficulty with reading comprehension.

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Community members become Principals for a day

MCISDlogoMISSION—At 7:30 a.m., Principal Orlando Farias can be found enjoying his first cup of coffee, and standing at the entrance of Mission Collegiate High School greeting his students every morning.

Mission Collegiate HS is known for its size of 225 students and rigorous curriculum. Farias said the idea that the top students in the district are attending his campus is a misunderstanding, but he said by the time the students graduate, they will be.

Through the annual Principal for a Day Mission CISD event, members of the community had the opportunity to shadow a principal for half a school day to get a glimpse into the daily routine of school leaders.

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Palmview takes hard look at finances

City-of-Palmview-LogoPALMVIEW—Entering into the tightest part of the year, city leaders hope to save enough money at the end of the fiscal year to put away for a rainy day.

“I want to be part of a group, of a team, of a city that’s going to have a fund balance,” Palmview’s Mayor Pro Tem Ricardo Villarreal said Monday night as city leaders discussed finances. “Even if we start at $3,000 this year in the black, please help us do that.”

City Manager Ramon Segovia only was named to the position last month, but he’s working with the finance director to streamline procedures, implementing a new purchase order system and becoming more strict on spending.

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La Joya High School graduates receive migrant award

20131122 LJISD Migrant-TwinsLA JOYA—Before leaving for college—one in Boston, the other in Austin—twin brothers Jesus and Julian Gonzalez had never been apart for more than a few days.

When they graduated from La Joya High School in May, Jesus was honored as valedictorian while Julian took the title of salutatorian. High honors for brothers who grew up in a primarily Spanish-speaking household. Now the two will share another recognition as they have been named Exemplary Migrant Students through the Texas Migrant Interstate Program.

The brothers will receive their award on Nov. 22.

The brothers are proud to call La Joya their hometown. Both brothers remember always having family close by and leaning on each other when troubles arose.

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Joy turned to grief marked Nov. 22, 1963

20131122 MHS-and-JFK-PT-YBaNovember 22, 1963, began as a day of great excitement for the students and staff of Mission High School, as well as the entire city. After months of planning, groundbreaking was taking place for construction of the highly anticipated new high school.

It was a particularly memorable day for the MHS Class of 1964-65 because they would be the first to graduate from the new campus. Class President William Valverde was to represent the future graduates at the ceremony by symbolically shoveling some of the dirt.

Aside from the excitement of the groundbreaking, a Friday night football game was scheduled in Robstown. Football players, band members, the cheering squad, students and fans were looking forward to an out-of-town trip to watch the Eagles play.

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La Joya area gets ‘Helping Hand’

20131116 LDS-house-project JS 3706 featureLA JOYA—Living on dirt floors, taking cold showers while exposed to the elements, tripping over extension cords carrying electricity into small, ramshackle homes—many children in the rural areas of La Joya have more to worry about each day than solving equations or spelling college-level words.

Erika Salinas, Juarez-Lincoln High School social worker, said there are always new colonias popping up in the surrounding area, and because it’s rural, there’s no code enforcement. That means people can set up cardboard rooms or tents if they wish, Salinas said.

“It makes it real hard for our kids because they don’t have enough food or they’re bathing outside,” Salinas said.

Many students start thinking about dropping out of school as they get older because they want to get jobs to help their families.

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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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