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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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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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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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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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O’caña wins in seat Mission, Plata re-elected

20120518_OcanaMaldonado elected to SISD, several MCISD incumbents remain

MISSION — Dr. Armando O’Caña will return as a member of the Mission City Council after residents elected him to the Place 4 seat ousting fellow educator Leo Olivarez in last week’s city election. Place 2 incumbent Ruben Plata will retain his spot.

Meanwhile in the Mission and Sharyland school board elections, several incumbents will keep their seat with one newcomer making up the board.

According to the City of Mission’s unofficial election results, Plata earned 2,372 votes, 56 percent of the vote against his challenger Rene De La Cruz who earned 1,876 votes. O’caña took 60 percent of the votes with 2,485 people electing him to replace Olivarez who received 1,678 votes. Provisional votes are still outstanding, according to City Secretary Anna Carrillo. The city council will canvass the election Monday, May 21.

O’caña previously served on the city council in Place 3.

In the Mission Consolidated Independent School District election with four seats up for election, but one uncontested, many incumbents will return to the board, with one of them taking a new seat.

Place 2 incumbent Dr. Sonia Treviño earned 2,238 votes against challenger Hector Gonzalez’s 1,545 votes.

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Texas Primary early voting ends May 25

20120518_HildagoDistricts-1More than 5,000 local Democrats and Republicans participated in the first day of early voting in the Texas primaries. Early voting will continue this weekend and into the week until Friday, May 25.

According to Hidalgo County Elections Department records, in 2008, the last major primary election, close to 6,000 people participated in the first day of early voting.

There are several local contested races in the state primary, which will be held May 29.

Democratic Party

The seat for U.S. Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison’s seat has four candidates. They are Paul Sadler, Grady Yarbrough, Sean Hubbard and Addie Dainell Allen.

District 15 U.S. Rep. Ruben Hinojosa is seeking re-election against Democratic candidates Ruben Ramon Ramirez, Johnny “JP” Partain, David Cantu and Jane Cross.

Texas House of Representatives District 35, a newly created House seat has two Democratic candidates, Oscar Longoria and Gus Ruiz.

District judge in the 389th Judicial District candidates are Alma Garza and Letty Lopez.

District judge in the 398 Judicial District candidates are Aida Salinas Flores and Fidencio Guerra Jr.

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Mission honors fallen heroes during ceremony

20120518_Mission_Honors_FallenMISSION — The Mission Police Department joined several local law enforcement agencies, Mission Fire Department and Mission Historical Museum to honor those who have fallen during their service.

Mayor Norberto “Beto” Salinas said the city would never forget those that have lost their lives and given their lives to make our community safer.

Salinas said the community has plenty of support from other agencies in the area.

Mission Police Chief Martin Garza said the city takes pride and honor to pay tribute to those that have paid the ultimate sacrifice while working for the police and fire department.

One of the reason’s Mission is a safe place to live is because of the strong relationship police have with the state, federal and local agencies, said Garza.

“The day your loved one joined the force is the same day that you to became a part of the law enforcement community and family,” Garza said to families of officers. “Today is not a sad day. Today is a celebration. A celebration of the lives of our past heroes and our heroes that are present with us today.”

Garza said he is blessed to work and serve with 146 police officers that are committed to service.

Before the ceremony, Garza gave a challenge coin to all of the police officers. He said it was a token of appreciation. It reads four words the department stands for – community, trust, integrity and accountability.

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