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Cloudy, 68 F

Forecast:
Fri - AM Clouds/PM Sun. High: 79 Low: 60
Sat - Partly Cloudy. High: 83 Low: 66
Sun - Cloudy. High: 83 Low: 68
Mon - AM Clouds/PM Sun. High: 85 Low: 67
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Our Lady of Guadalupe Church begins expansion

20120525-Lady-of-Guadalupe-Church-Remodel-001Parishioners enter ‘new house of worship’ this weekend

MISSION — After a decade of fundraising and seeking approval to expand the Our Lady of Guadalupe Church, work has begun and starting last weekend, Mass will be held in the church hall for the next nine months.

Last week, Rev. Roy Snipes stood inside the 85-year-old church as workers removed several church artifacts like the pulpit, saint statues and the Stations of the Cross.

“I’m too sentimental for this stuff,” Snipes said. “If anybody gripes at me I’ll be sure to understand.”

The expansion, which will move the walls on the east and west sides by 30 feet, will allow the church to welcome more of its parishioners inside for Sunday Mass. At the height of the winter months, Snipes said there could be 1,000 people attending church.

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Children enjoy UVAL Fine Arts Fair

20120525_UVAL_JSL_ChildrensArtFair_JB10Leon Villarreal patiently helped his four-year-old son Diego with the paintbrush as he experienced water colors at the Upper Valley Art League’s Children’s Fine Arts Fair last Saturday, May 19.

“We wanted to come show the kids how much fun it is to be creative,” Leon said. “We wanted them to experience it and just spend some time with the family on Saturday morning.”

Nearly 100 children, ages 4-12, enjoyed a range of activities giving them an opportunity to have fun with art at the children’s fair sponsored by the Junior Service League of Mission.

“We did the story telling where we learned about the Native Americans, which is really cool, and we did the artwork. It seems like he’s getting the grasp of it, so we are really excited about that. He’s having fun,” said Villarreal.

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RED Day volunteers help Mission family

20120525_RED_Day_lg-3It was as close to a scene from the Extreme Home Makeover television show as this reporter has ever seen. Up to 50 volunteers showed up at a modest two-bedroom one-bathroom home west of Mission recently and spent the day doing yard work, sanding sheetrock, painting walls and ceilings, laying tile and installing bathroom fixtures, all at no expense to the homeowner.

As part of the annual RED Day initiative in which tens of thousands of Keller Williams employees across the country spend one day out of the year renewing, energizing and donating (RED) in their local communities, real estate agents and employees of Keller Williams Realty RGV gathered together to show one Mission family how much they care.

Team leader Lori Fernandez, who was among the volunteers that arrived early and stayed late that day, explained what RED Day is all about,

“Basically what we do is to close our doors one day every year to give back to the community.  We like to pay it forward.  This year we’ve chosen a very deserving Casa Hidalgo family and we’re basically going to make this young girl’s bedroom her dream room,” she said.

The young girl, who was taken in by her grandmother after Child Protective Services removed her from an abusive situation, did have her own room, but with a concrete floor, no air conditioner and nothing more than a cot to sleep on, it was far from being the room of her dreams.

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Mission school year extended one day

Mission CISD officials are reminding parents and the community that the 2011-2012 school year was extended one day due to a day that was missed in March due to bad weather. The last day of school will be Wednesday, June 6. This will also be an early release day for students only. Afternoon Pre-K students will not attend school on June 6. The final teacher workday for the school year is Thursday, June 7.

The dismissal schedule for MCISD students on June 6 is: Pre-K, 10:30 a.m.; kinder-5th grade, noon; junior high and high schools, 1 p.m.

La Joya ISD release schedule

The last day of school for La Joya ISD students will be May 31. This will be an early release day with pre-K migrant classes dismissing at 11:30 a.m., elementary pre-K through fifth grades at 12:45 p.m., middle schools dismiss at 12 p.m., and the high schools at 1:30 p.m.

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Bryan Road construction falls behind

20120525-Bryan-Road-Bridge-Demolition-007Since demolition of the Bryan Rd. bridge crossing over Expressway 83 on March 7, motorists have had to detour to either Conway Ave. or Shary Rd. to cross the expressway. Although city officials had hoped the contractor could re-open the intersection to north-south traffic sooner, TxDOT project engineer Oscar Cancino says he expects to see them reach that milestone in mid-July to mid-August.

He says that while the overall project is running behind – with 60 percent of the work completed and 80 percent of the allotted time expired – the Bryan Rd. reconnection appears to be on target within the five months time originally allotted. He added that the contractor is expected to submit an updated work schedule that TxDOT will review and work out an agreement on issues such as number of rain delay days and utility delays allowed.

“Overall we’re a little [behind] with the total working days that they have here versus what they say now. But at any time the contractor can accelerate the work. They can bring in more forces and hit their allotted days,” Cancino said.

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SISD approves additional personnel, superintendent search continues

MISSION – Sharyland School Board approved requests for additional personnel at several schools during this week’s board meeting. Most of the personnel were requested because of increasing enrollment numbers at the high school.

More staffing was also requested to help with new testing practices that will be fully implemented next year. The hiring of three testing strategists, an administrative position, was approved for the high school and both junior highs.

The board also approved hiring a physical therapist. The school district expects to save money by having a therapist on the payroll instead of paying for outside services.

Agriculture Building Update

The board rejected a bid on Package B for the Agriculture Building. The package calls for an addition and small office space with lockers. Original budget for the project was set at $400,000. Bids received were over $700,000.

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FROM VIETNAM SOLDIERS TO VIETNAM TEACHERS

20120518_Doug-with-Market-LadiesLocal veterans return to country for service

Doug Young sat in the St. Peter & St. Paul Episcopal Church’s temporary house of worship, a Mission shopping center, as he listened to his pastor when he realized he had an unfinished personal mission.

It was February 2004, when his pastor spoke about how God guides individuals into helping others. He reached out and wrote “VM,” military lingo for Vietnam, on a sheet of paper.

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Hey, hey, it’s the monkey!

20120518_MonkeyCaptured_LEG7599MISSION — A primate who roamed citrus orchards in the northwestern part of the city was caught on Monday in a trap set up by City Of Mission Health Department workers last week.

City officials credited persistence and knowledge of the African patas monkey’s sweet tooth that brought an end to the monkey’s short lived, yet highly publicized, reign of freedom. Health department superviso Ernie Zapata said advice from Jerry Stones of the Gladys Porter Zoo helped he and his staff set up a trap with an assortment of fruit and sweet bread early Monday morning in hopes of luring the elusive primate into entering the trap and tripping the mechanism that would shut and lock the steel door.

With previous attempts at trapping the monkey with fruit as bait not netting any results, Zapata believes it was the sweet bread that made the difference.

“We got some cinnamon rolls and some banana nut bread because they told me that they really like sweet bread and apparently they do,” he said.

It took approximately six hours for the monkey to take the bait. Zapata said that he set the trap early Monday morning and that there was no change when he checked on it at 2:30 p.m. This reporter came across the trap and found the monkey inside the trap at 4:45 p.m. and alerted authorities.

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