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Valley AIDS Council participates in World AIDS Day

20111209_AIDS-DAY_EPG_0012McALLEN — Over 100 names of AIDS victims lined the doors of the Valley AIDS Council (VAC) off of McColl Avenue on Dec. 1 as the group remembered victims in their first interactive event to remind the community that AIDS is still a threat to the community.

Names on the wall included familiar ones like Freddy Mercury, the lead singer of Queen, and Ryan White, an Indiana teenager who got the disease through a contaminated blood transfusion. There were names of VAC patients and friends like Jim Ryan, Mary and Sergio.

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Abbott asks Supreme Court to stop use of new redistricting maps

20111202_Greg-AbbottAUSTIN — On Monday, candidates for state office began submitting applications for their election bid after a three-judge panel created new Texas House and Senate redistricting maps. While the new maps will be used in upcoming elections, Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott filed an emergency stay application with the U.S. Supreme Court to halt the implementation of the maps he called “legally flawed.”

“Today’s appeal emphasizes that no court has, at any time, found anything unlawful about the redistricting maps passed by the Texas Legislature,” Abbott said on Monday. “It is judicial activism at its worst for judges to draw redistricting maps of their own choosing despite no finding of wrongdoing by the State of Texas.”

Abbott said the main concern is whether the interim maps imposed by a San Antonio three-judge redistricting panel violate the U.S. Constitution and federal law and exceeds the proper role of the judiciary.

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Hinojosa, Muñoz announce re-election campaigns; Peña and Gonzales bow out

20111202_Senator_Hinojosa_StetsonMonday was the first day candidates were able to file to run for state offices and incumbents state Sen. Juan “Chuy” Hinojosa, D-McAllen, and state Rep. Sergio Muñoz Jr., D-Palmview, both announced they’d seek re-election while state Rep. Aaron Peña, R-Edinburg, and Rep. Veronica Gonzales, D-McAllen, said they would not seek re-election in their reconfigured districts.

Weeks leading up to the first day to begin filing, even into this week, have been confusing as maps have been reconfigured and protested, leaving some politicians working to determine if they still want to run for election in a district that might have been restructured a second time.

On Thanksgiving night, Peña published a message on his website titled “Ten Good Years of Service to the Community I Love.” In it, he explained his reasons for not seeking re-election and also reflected on his time as an elected official. Peña explained the new redistricting maps would make it impossible for him to win a seat in his district. Peña, under the original redistricting plans would have run for office in District 41, but with the new plans, he’s been pushed back to District 40, a largely Democratic area.

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MPD’s Kops for Kids accepting donations

20111202_KopsforKids_CAB_0083MISSION — Operation Kops for Kids, in its 17th year, has started accepting donations of toys for children, newborn to 12 years of age, said Assistant Police Chief Martin Garza.

Nearly 1,500 toys were given out during last year’s distribution, Garza said.

“We’re hoping to increase that every year,” he said.

Residents are encouraged to donate new toys or monetary donations to Mission Crime Stoppers at the Mission Police Department, 1200 E. 8th St., until Dec. 20. All money received will go toward purchasing more gifts for children in the Mission area including Peñitas, Sullivan City, Alton and Granjeno.

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VMHS Harlequin’s sing for ‘Hairspray’

20111202_VMHS_Harlequin_01MISSION — After nearly three months of practicing, the Veterans Memorial High School (VMHS) Harlequin Drama Club is ready to bring “Hairspray” to the stage. Nearly 60 students including actors, stagehands, lighting crew, director, band and the drama teacher are looking forward to seeing many happy faces in the crowd.

Drama teacher James Hodgson said this has been the largest production the club has done under his tutelage. Of the 60 members, 30 of them are freshmen.

“This is a difficult play because of the size. We haven’t had all at once, 50 people, or 45 people on the stage,” said Hodgson. “It’s complicated to get them all up there and busy…and it’s a lot of singing. There’s not a lot of dialogue.”

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Alton seeks sponsors for Christmas festivities

City-of-alton-logoALTON — City officials as well as the Greater Alton Chamber of Commerce are seeking sponsors for the upcoming sixth annual Christmas Parade and festivities to be held on Dec. 17 at 11 a.m.

Festivities include a toy giveaway to be held at the community center following the parade.

Officials said in the past, many business leaders and residents have come forward to demonstrate their generosity and civic pride and to see that the children of Alton have a fun-filled event.

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Sheriff visits White House to discuss border security

WASHINGTON, D.C. — On Wednesday, Sheriff Guadalupe "Lupe" Treviño met with senior administration officials at the White House including Department of Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano to talk about enhancing public safety and economic development in the U.S.-Mexico border region.

Treviño, vice chair of DHS’s Southwest Border Task Force, was joined by other sheriffs, police chiefs, and officials from the Southwest border who traveled to share their on-the-ground perspectives and brain storm ways to continue collaborating with state and federal agencies.

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Federal court develops new districting map

20111125_FED-HOUSEPLANH298EDINBURG — Hidalgo County gained an additional Texas House seat and most of District 41 was restored to its original boundary lines under new redistricting maps released by a federal three-judge panel in San Antonio last week.

The new maps will be used in the 2012 election cycle, said Hidalgo County Elections Administrator Yvonne Ramon at this week’s Commissioners’ Court.

County officials boasted that the new development was anticipated after the area grew according to the 2010 U.S. Census results.

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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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