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LJISD’s truancy program goes mobile

20111014_DeviceLA JOYA — Campus police with the La Joya Independent School District hope to get truant students back in class utilizing GPS monitoring and student mentoring with a mobile phone device.

The Attendance Improvement Management System, or AIM, which was unveiled this week, assists district police and truant officers in keeping track of truant students.

Currently being used on a volunteer basis, the initiative also helps the district keep truant students from having to pay court fines for missing school.

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Child struck by auto spurs traffic safety concerns

20111014_CrosswalkMISSION — The growing population and the traffic congestion created in Mission, especially around schools, caused concerns among the Traffic Safety Committee after a child was hit at a crosswalk near Castro Elementary last month.

The Traffic Safety Committee and Mission Police Department came up with additional precautions to be used where traffic is congested around Castro Elementary and Mission Junior High. Ordinances based on these concerns were passed at Monday’s city council meeting.

Assistant Police Chief Martin Garza said the incident at Castro Elementary occurred at 7:45 a.m. on Sept. 21 when a mother dropped her child off in an area that was not in the loading and unloading zone.

The parent, who parked in a “no parking, no standing zone,” was watching her child cross the street. But she struck another child in the crosswalk at the corner of Mayberry and Citriana streets as she started to move while still watching her child. Police said crossing guards had finished their shift in watching the crossing zones, so the child was crossing by himself.

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MHM ‘Day of the Dead’ exhibit opening is Oct. 22

20111014_SOC_MariaThe Mission Historical Museum is preparing for their annual Dia de los Muertos (Day of the Dead) festival and opening reception to be held on Oct. 22 from 4 to 8 p.m. in the Museum Annex Building, 200 E. Tom Landry St. in Mission.

The special program and opening will feature altar presentations, live Catrinas, a multi-media exhibit, and samplings of traditional music and food. There will be special activities for children from 4 to 6 p.m., including face painting, crafts, and a day of the dead procession.


In European cultures, death is seen as the end of life, but in the native cultures of Mexico, life is believed to continue after death. Cemeteries are decorated and altars made in homes and public places to welcome the spirits of the departed with their favorite foods, valuables, and even toys for the spirits of children. A noisy procession is sometimes used to guide the spirits to the festival. Thus, on Dia de los Muertos, the living and the dead celebrate together.

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County substance abuse center opens

20111007_JOHN-AUSTIN-PENA-SUBSTANCE-ABUSE-CENTER_EPG_0116EDINBURG — A new light of hope was lit for families struggling with drug addiction this week.

The John Austin Peña Primary Care & Substance Abuse Treatment Facility held its grand opening on Tuesday with members of state Rep. Aaron Peña’s family whose son would have turned 27 this week. He died at the age of 16 in a drug overdose.

Joining the Peña family were other individuals who dealt with drug addiction. Also in attendance were several county officials and state representatives who helped work toward building the facility, a first of its kind in the Rio Grande Valley.

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Mission parks adding to quality of life

20111007_MISSION_PARKS_HollisRutledge_BannworthPark_JB_0057MISSION — The addition of the new Hollis Rutledge Sr. Park located on Inspiration Road just north of the Mile 2 Line Road, provides even more outdoor space to assure that residents are all able to enjoy a higher quality of life no matter where in the city they live.

Scheduled to open in December, construction on the eight-acre tract is underway with restrooms and lighting already built and installed. Parks Director Julian Gonzalez said Rutledge Park would be a zone park, meaning it will have more facilities than a neighborhood park, but less than the new regional park located at 1801 S. Inspiration Rd.  The park will be open from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m.

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SISD’s Jessie Jensen Elem. promotes recycling

20111007_SISD_HERO-Recycling_CAB_021ALTON — The Jensen Environmental Team, or JET Club, with the help of the City of Alton, is promoting recycling at school.

To get the program started this year, the students visited with Tony Garza, recycling coordinator for Alton and the earth, or the city’s recycling mascot, HERO (Helping Earth Recover Resources).

The students were able to view a presentation about recycling to learn about what can and cannot be recycled.

Garza told the students that the items they collect have to be clean. Pizza boxes that have the grease and cheese from the pizza on them cannot be recycled. Drinking bottles and other items need to be rinsed as well or they cannot be recycled.

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Lopez legacy one of athletics and academics

20110930_WEB_ProgressTimes_001MISSION — In four years, high school athletes scrape the ceiling of glory and plumb the depths of defeat. High school football, as well as baseball, basketball and volleyball, are more than diversions, more than simply a thing to do on Friday night. For many athletes, they represent the apex of their sporting careers. However, once the lights are snuffed and the diplomas disseminated, what becomes of the local hero? Where do high school athletes turn when their time at glory reaches its inevitable end? For Mission native Ben Lopez, this is the moment he steps into a valuable role of helping athletes take that next step.

Lopez, a recruiter for Lindenwood University in St. Charles, MO., has made it his mission to share the gifts of Rio Grande Valley athletes with the rest of the nation and, more importantly, give local athletes a chance to continue their education.

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County selects court no. 7 judge

20110916_HidalgoCountySealEDINBURG — Weeks after saying they didn’t want to make a selection to fill the vacancy for the new Hidalgo County Court-At-Law No. 7, Hidalgo County Commissioners selected McAllen lawyer Rolando Cantu to run the not-yet established courtroom.

Dozens of people attended Tuesday’s Commissioners’ Court to offer their support for their desired candidate who would fill the seat until the 2012 election cycle. County leaders said they wanted a judge who wouldn’t be seeking election for the seat to fill the vacancy until voters could decide whom they want as judge.

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