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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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‘This is not an overnight job’

20110930_WEB_ProgressTimes_015Partnership to curb drug trafficking, develop trust in La Joya

LA JOYA — The U.S. Border Patrol partnered with the Hidalgo County Sheriff’s Office, La Joya Police Department and the City of La Joya on Tuesday to develop a permanent presence in the city.

They set up camp in front of soccer fields at Garza Avenue and Military Highway. Their presence, they said, will not only help law enforcement respond faster to activity in the area, but it will develop a relationship with the communities of La Joya, Peñitas, Sullivan City and Havana, among other communities.

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MHM presents ‘Wall of Fame’ honorees

20110930_WEB_ProgressTimes_003For the third year, the Mission Historical Museum’s annual banquet program centered around a tribute to people who have contributed personally to Mission’s history and success over the past 30 years or longer. Seven local residents were named to the museum’s “Wall of Fame” during the event held Sept. 22 at The Club at Cimarron.

The 2011 honorees were Bill Dondlinger, former Congressman Eligio “Kika” and Lucille de la Garza, Mary Guerra, Estella Salinas, and Pat and Virginia Townsend.

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A foreign education

20110923-UTPA-International-Students-003EDINBURG — Ai Nhan Ngo moved from Vietnam to earn a master’s in English as a second language at the University of Texas-Pan American last month. With her degree, Ngo plans to open a business back home teaching English to the Vietnamese.

“The economic situation in Vietnam is not great, and there is a very high need to know English there, especially if you want a good job working either with the government or international business,” Ngo said.

Ngo is among hundreds of other students that come to UTPA with an academic F1 visa to study in the United States. According to UTPA’s Office of International Admissions and Services Director Pam Chapa, there are 486 foreign students attending UTPA with an F1 visa.

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SISD junior highs receive Blue Ribbon honors

20110923_SISD_blue-RibbonMISSION — Junior highs at in the Sharyland Independent School District are two of 26 Texas public and private schools to receive a 2011 Blue Ribbon award from the U.S. Department of Education last week.

“When the person from (the Texas Education Agency) called in the spring about the nomination, they were actually excited,” said Superintendent Scott Owings this week. “If you look at that list, even the huge cities that have more than one, many of them are magnet campuses. I think that’s an extra feather in their cap that we’re regular public school campuses and have both of them in the same year, like, that is just really fantastic.”

Nationwide, SISD’s Sharyland North and B.L. Gray junior highs are two of over 300 recognized schools. The schools will be formally honored at an event in Washington, D.C. in November.

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Collection initiative collects $8K in first days

20110916_HidalgoCountySealEDINBURG — Hidalgo County officials said their campaign to collect on over $30 million in overdue fines and fees in the justices of the peace department is off to a good start, collecting over $8,000 in its first few days.

Operation Clean Slate started late last week, offering individuals a chance to pay up before they’re unable to renew their vehicle registration or driver’s licenses and met by a third-party collector.

County officials said 46 people had visited their website to determine whether they had any outstanding fines due. As of Tuesday, $8,396.50 in fines had been collected.

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College excitement starts with MCISD fair

20110916_MCISD_CollegeFair_JB_0029MISSION — Seniors crowded the Neuhaus Gym floor at Mission High School during a College Fair Tuesday morning asking college, university and military representatives about continuing their education. Over 1,300 students were able to walk through and visit with the representatives.

The Mission Consolidated Independent School District has made the College Fair available to seniors for over 20 years. Now with two high schools, the school district alternates which school hosts the event each year. Juniors from the hosting high school were also given the opportunity to attend. While some students may know what they want to do after high school, many more students are still trying to decide. The fair gives the students a chance to touch base with recruiters face-to-face, district officials said.

Mission High School Principal Joe Lopez said it is a great opportunity for the students to network and establish relationships with the university recruiters and admission counselors.

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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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