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Fair, 81 F

Wed - Mostly Clear. High: 89 Low: 69
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Alton parade grows with city

20131214 ALTON Christmas-parade IMG 0051Early on, it looked like rain would threaten the eighth annual Alton Christmas parade, but by 11 a.m. the skies cleared up, giving way to only slightly cool temperatures.

Families happily lined 5 Mile Road, sitting on bleachers and curbs, ready for the action, as Alton city officials lined up floats down the road. The sirens of emergency vehicles announced the procession, which city leaders boasted included 50 percent more entries than last year.

Seated in a float made to look like a train car (“City of Alton named after the Alton Railroad” a banner states), Miss Alton 2014 in a blue sequined evening gown waved to the crowd. Dancers from Domingo Treviño Middle School with pom poms at their sides led the way for the Husky band behind Miss Alton.

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Primera Baptist Church to host Christmas party

20131214 MISSION Primera-Baptist-program IMG 0411Primera Baptist Church has been hosting Christmas performances for years, decades even, but this year it literally starts with a bang—a drummer’s solo leading into a rendition of the “Little Drummer Boy.”

Pastor Eli Sanchez said the goal is to have a Christmas party, not another program.

“We wanted to make it fun, but we also wanted to have a message,” he said.

Church leaders recruited talent from across the congregation, and the result is heavy on percussion with three drummers who dominate the party, an adult choir and dancing children. The entire church is represented well, Sanchez said, which reflects their stance that church is for everyone.

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Alton to get fire equipment, swears in new municipal court judge

Alton LOGOThe Alton City Commission agreed to move more than $230,000 toward the purchase of fire equipment in a quick meeting Tuesday evening.

City Manager Jorge Arcaute also announced the city has received three grants totaling $75,000, mostly for a radio system, from the Lower Rio Grande Development Council. He said construction of the building is behind schedule, but steel beams were delivered this week for the structure and it should move forward now.

The $230,000 is coming from leftover funding provided by Urban County and originally slated for street improvement projects from 2009 to 2012.

But the crowd at the meeting Tuesday that caused city officials to bring in additional seating wasn’t there to hear about the new fire station. After the city commission adjourned its meeting, Patricia O’Caña-Olivarez was sworn in as the city’s alternate municipal judge. O’Caña-Olivarez, also a member of the Mission Consolidated Independent School District School Board, said she and her family were raised to be a part of the community.

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Mission area schoolchildren donate to needy

MCISDlogoMission area schoolchildren are learning more than reading, writing and arithmetic. During the Thanksgiving and Christmas seasons, they are also learning the value of giving and helping those less fortunate.

Every school campus in the Mission Consolidated Independent School District has identified some way of helping the needy. For Thanksgiving, many of the campuses conducted food drives, donating thousands of food items to the Food Bank of the RGV or to the Mission Food Pantry. Others provided Thanksgiving baskets or meals for families in need, said Craig Verley. MCISD director of Public Relations.

Mission High School and Veterans Memorial High School participated in a food drive for the Mission Food Pantry, donating over 2,000 food items. The Pantry also benefitted from food drives by Sharyland schools, including John H. Shary Jr. High and B.L. Gray Jr. High. Some day cares are even teaching valuable lessons about sharing and giving; Apple Tree Day Care donated 125 items.

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Mission gathers to light Christmas tree

20131206 MISSION Christmas-tree-lighting JS IMG 4580Temperatures dipped down to the 40s Friday evening, adding to the holiday atmosphere as Mission city leaders and families held the annual tree lighting ceremony at Leo Peña Placita Park.

Children bundled up, many wrapped in blankets on top of warm jackets, waited in line to see Santa. Adults warmed their hands on coffee and hot chocolate, and enjoyed performances by the Juan Diego Academy Liturgical Society, Veterans Memorial High School folklorico and more.

“I didn’t get a reindeer, but I got a reindog,” said Father Roy Snipes, of Our Lady of Guadalupe Church, as he took the microphone to offer a prayer before the ceremony. Bandito, Snipes’ dog often at his side in public events, wore a Santa outfit.

“It’s a Christmassy night in the old neighborhood,” Snipes said.

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Bikers bring Christmas joy to needy children

20131213 Penitas Law Dogs IMG 4666 featurePopcorn popped, holiday music filled the air, a Christmas tree ruled one corner of the room, and an entire wall was dedicated to a depiction of the nativity scene.

One toddler protectively held onto a package with a bright red race car inside, running circles around his family in his excitement. A young girl in purple pants and sparkly wedges clung to staff members of the Rio Grande Children’s Home, seeking whatever attention she could find, and they lovingly obliged, wrapping an arm around her as they spoke to the crowd or holding her hand, asking if she’d won anything playing Christmas bingo.

Saturday marked possibly the only Christmas these children will know this year through the annual Law Dogs toy run, when motorcyclists from around the Valley gather in Harlingen and ride up together to deliver presents to children involved with Buckner International.

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Sheriff’s office asks for help in shooting

Hidalgo-County-SealMore than a month after a 28-year-year old man was shot and killed, the Hidalgo County Sheriff’s Office released a statement asking for help solving the case.

“Investigators have developed several theories, but have no solid leads or evidence to support their validity,” a news release from the county states.

Eleazar Padilla Jr., 28, was shot Nov. 2 in the 5300 block of Coyote Circle, outside of Mission. He was taken to McAllen Regional Hospital, which called in law enforcement. On Nov. 14, Padilla died from his injuries.

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Meet in the Middle program begins at Veterans Memorial High School

201312061 VMHS-homecoming-king-queen featureMISSION—Cristian Bautista, a senior at Veterans Memorial High School, is much like the average student. An athlete, Bautista has a love for soccer and was named VMHS Homecoming King for 2013.

Bautista also has been part of the first steps with a new program for the campus and Mission CISD, called Project Unity-Meet in the Middle— a project that is headed by Special Olympics Texas and designed to promote acceptance and inclusion amongst students with and without intellectual disabilities.

Diana Cremar, adapted PE teacher, brought the program idea to the campus and fellow teachers Kathy Howell and Maricela Munoz quickly came on as facilitators.

“It is about breaking down walls,” Howell said. “The students learn about tolerance, building friendships that perhaps they might not have had otherwise. They get to see that just because people are different, they can still be friends.”

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