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Top 2011 stories: MEDA/MEDC shakeup, U.S. Census undercount allegations

20120106_SISD_SecondHighSchool_Site_CAB_0046MISSION — The top stories for 2011 in the Mission area concentrated on the growing population and the effects it has on economic development groups and a local high school busting at the seam, among others.

MEDA/MEDC shakeup

The biggest story here was the Mission City Council’s February decision to disband and eliminate funding to the Mission Economic Development Authority which eventually led to a reshuffling of the board of directors serving on the Mission Economic Development Corporation.

Mayor Norberto “Beto” Salinas indicated he was not happy with how MEDA projects were handled or how long they took to complete. He also said he wanted the city to  have one economic group like neighboring cities.

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Woman skydives to 83rd birthday

20120106_SkysTHEimit_2SOUTH PADRE ISLAND -  Jean Moudry of Mission with her bright red hair and her bold red nails stood with her hands clasped together at her chest as she waited for her ride to destiny.

After years of debating with herself and friends, the 82-year-old Nebraska native finally set her sights on her dream crusade of soaring through the clouds in a Cessna plane before jumping at approximately 12,000 feet in the air with a parachute for her 83rd birthday.

Joined by friends and family, Moudry, an Ann Richards Middle School volunteer, said the skydiving adventure was part of her bucket list of things she wanted to do in life.

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Chief Longoria: ‘I’m going to stay active in law enforcement’

20111230_ChiefLongoriaMISSION — As Mission Police Chief Leo Longoria recently took a break from his intermittent vacation before he officially retires, he met with his top administration officials, but didn’t look like a man who was ready to stow away his badge.

His office remained in tact. Piles of paper lined his desk, his awards and photos still stood in his bookshelf and his bulletproof vest stood on the floor beside the door ready for a quick exit.

After announcing his retirement – effective in 2012 – last October, Longoria has been preparing himself for his new life as a hands-on dad and insurance agent.

“There’s been a big transition in my life and it basically had to do with setting my priorities,” Longoria said in an interview from his office recently. “I’m reflecting more on the fact that there were times that I took a vacation, but I was never on vacation. I never took one mentally, I was usually always thinking about work.”

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Garza selected as interim police chief

20111230_MissionPoliceChiefMISSION — Assistant Police Chief Martin Garza said this week that he is ready to serve the City of Mission; Garza will be serving as the interim police chief until someone is put in the position permanently.

“I feel privileged and blessed, but more than anything, I’m humbled,” said Garza about the opportunity, adding that he is happy to continue running the Mission Police Department and assist the city through the transition of final appointment of a new police chief. “I’m ready to serve.”

Garza, a Mission native, has been with the MPD for nearly 20 years. He began as a patrolman in 1992.

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CWV Skate Park getting upgrades

MISSION — The renovation of the CWV Skate Park next to the Mayberry Road Community Center will provide one more option for outdoor entertainment for the younger residents of Mission.

Mission Parks Director Julian Gonzalez said the skate park was closed due to deterioration but thanks to a $89,777 bid approved by the Mission City Council on Dec. 19, the park should soon be renovated. It would provide a safe place off the streets for the youth riding skateboards to practice their skills.

Gonzalez said the park would be made of concrete with five-to-seven different stations that included ramps – with different slopes – railing and a center pyramid. The park could be a recreation skate park, not a competition park, designed for durability and resistance. As a result it will require less maintenance.

Construction starts in January and the park should be completed in March. When completed, it will be open to the public seven days a week.

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LJISD to develop a ‘college-going’ community

LA-JOYA-LOGO_TNLA JOYA — The La Joya Independent School District’s top priority in 2012 is developing a community that has its entire graduating student body attend college. District leaders want to change the culture of the area to help students realize that college is possible for everyone.

“We want to make sure our whole district is working on a college-going culture,” said Superintendent Dr. Alda T. Benavides.

The school district already has one early college high school and is looking at expanding to give more students in the district the opportunity to earn an associate’s degree when they graduate from high school.

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MPD search for suspects, stolen car

IMG_0996MISSION — Authorities said two men shopping at a local Stripes convenience store last week took off with merchandise the store doesn’t carry – a customer’s vehicle. The Mission Police Department is asking for the public’s help in identifying the men involved.

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Sharyland Angels

20111216_Shary-Angels_IMG_5452SISD administrators, students help district students in need of a Merry Christmas

MISSION — The “Sharyland Angels” became Santa’s helpers this week, delivering Christmas gifts to local children and families. Students and teachers at three elementary schools and administration in the Sharyland Independent School District participated in filling Christmas wish lists for students within the district.

In previous years, the district adopted needy families and children referred by the Salvation Army. Nelsa Palacios, one of the organizers and curriculum and instruction secretary, said they have really enjoyed working with the Salvation Army in past years but saw that there were students in their district that could use the help as well.

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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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