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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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Local dentists serve Guatemala mission

20111216_Dentists_02Seven local residents recently traveled to the highlands of northern Guatemala on a charity mission to provide health care to hundreds of people who rarely, if ever, receive any medical care to speak of. As part of a medical and dental mission trip sponsored by St. John’s Episcopal Church in McAllen, this group of health professionals and their support staff spent six days providing urgently needed medical and dental care to impoverished men, women and children in the Santa Cruz del Quiche area of Guatemala.

McAllen dentist, Dr. Lorena Rojas and her husband, Jorge Rojas III were among those that embarked on this Guatemalan mission trip in October. Others who made the trip were Valley residents Dr. Argelia Douglas (physician), J.B. Townsend (dental assistant), Dr. Suman Balajelin (dentist), James Chase (surgical nurse), Norma Jessulat (post op nurse) and Houston resident Dr. Sandra Carrier (dentist).

“We’re doing God’s work. I feel as if it’s our responsibility as Christians to not just sit and watch others do,” said Lorena Rojas. “We don’t have to go that far, you can serve your neighbor or the person across the street but for us the call was there and that’s why we’re going there.”

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Mission Boy Scout constructs flagpole for Eagle Scout project

20111216_JUAN-DIEGO-ACADEMY_EPG_0059MISSION — A freshmen at Juan Diego Academy looked at his campus, fresh with new buildings and a tennis court but sensed the grounds were lacking.

The school needed a flagpole to show its civic and school pride, said 14-year-old Alan Guerra.

A member of the Our Lady of Guadalupe Boy Scout Troop No. 80 who is nearing the coveted ranking of Eagle Scout, Alan realized his mission to help him reach the one of the scout’s highest honors.

Last week, Alan presented his project to his 17 classmates and the school’s board members who helped get the school built and open this year.

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