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SISD committee recommends second high school

20110826_SISD_Admin_BuildingMISSION — With increasing enrollment, a committee for the Sharyland Independent School District has recommended that a bond election be held to construct a second high school.

The 25-person committee researched enrollment growth, past bond construction, current facilities and possible financing methods before coming to their decision.

Eddie Montalvo, the chairperson for the committee, presented the findings of the committee at a recent board meeting, explaining their decision to petition the board for a bond election was unanimous.

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Edinburg businessman sets eyes on District 41

20110823_ELECTIONS_T.C.-BEATANCOURT-District-41_EPG_PAGE-1_0042EDINBURG — T.C. Betancourt, a businessman with roots in Edinburg and McAllen announced his intent to run as a Democratic candidate for office for state representative District 41 this week.

“We all want a good paying job, an education, affordable health care and live in a safe community,” Betancourt said Tuesday surrounded by family and friends at his Elite Rehab Services office in Edinburg. “I am a businessman that believes in people and families first…I believe that my years in community service, and my experience as a healthcare and agriculture professional are positive qualifications to serve the people of District 41.”

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City welcomes new MEDC CEO

20110823_MEDC_Alex-Maude_Reception_JB_018A large gathering of community leaders welcomed Mission Economic Development Corporation’s new CEO, Alex Meade, during a reception at La Fogata restaurant Tuesday evening.  Meade was hired as CEO last month, putting the city’s economic development efforts on solid footing as the city transitions the spearheading of economic development from MEDA (Mission Economic Development Authority) to MEDC.

MEDC Chairwoman Cathy Garcia introduced Meade to the crowd, which included State Representatives Sergio Munoz Jr. and Aaron Pena, Mayor Norberto “Beto” Salinas, Mission Chamber Chairman of the Board Fred Kurth and Hidalgo County RMA Chair Dennis Burleson. Also present were City Council members Ruben Plata, Leo Olivarez and Maria Elena Ramirez; Julio Cerda, Mission city manager; Oscar Martinez, Mission school board member; Dr. Noel Garza, Sharyland school board member and many other community leaders.

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MCISD mulls possibilities with TRE funds

MCISDlogoMISSION — Administrators with the Mission Consolidated Independent School District (MCISD) recently looked at possible options in budget adjustments should voters approve the tax ratification election, or TRE, in September.

At a recent board meeting, Assistant Superintendent for Finance & Operations Lucio Mendoza presented board trustees with preliminary estimates and a proposed budget.

With the voter approval of an increased maintenance and operations tax from $1.04 to $1.17 per $100 valuation, MCISD could expect total revenues to be $130,592,694 and expenditures to be $128,132,760.

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Hidalgo Co. creates alternative incarceration program

EDINBURG — A new program will allow low-risk offenders currently in the Hidalgo County Jail system to be under house arrest while undergoing rehabilitation will allow the county to address its overcrowding issues.

Recently, Hidalgo County Commissioners’ Court voted to approve the program, which will initially target 50 people and have a staff of four. The initiative could help the county save approximately $766,000, 139th District Court Judge Bobby Flores said.

“The Hidalgo County Community Supervision and Correction Department is facing serious fiscal difficulties in the current fiscal year, as well as the upcoming biennium,” said department Director Arnold Patrick in a letter to Judge Ramon Garcia. “In anticipation of these difficulties, we have developed an alternative to incarceration that will allow us to further assist the county and allow the county to assist us, as well.”

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20110816-Juan-Diego-Academy-001Juan Diego Academy opens Monday

MISSION — In just a few days, Juan Diego Academy will welcome its first group of freshman students to the campus located near Granjeno. The first Catholic high school in Hidalgo County is expecting between 20-25 students on its first day of class.

“We are looking forward to starting off small so we can focus on the needs of the students,” said Juan Diego Academy President Sister Marcella Ewers.

Ewers’ excitement for the new school is palpable.

“We have been working on this goal for many years and it has finally come together with the help of our community, the Diocese of Brownsville, and our board members,” she said.

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STC unveils virtual campus

20110809-eSTC-001McALLEN — South Texas College launched the eSTC Virtual Campus, its sixth site, on Tuesday promising to offer a broad range of courses across academic disciplines that will also allow students to connect to all departments via live chat.

“The Internet has transformed every facet of our lives,” said STC President Shirley A. Reed. “In a brave move that few colleges have dared to take, we are offering every service available to our traditional campus students – all online.”

STC’s distance learning program started in 1997, stretching the McAllen-based college’s services to Weslaco and Rio Grande City. Since the school’s inception in 1993, reaching long-distance students has been a goal, said Juan E. Mejia, STC vice president for academic affairs.

“Now with the use of technology and increased demand, we can help students receive a degree 100 percent online,” he explained.

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‘Operation Clean Slate’

20110812_OPERATION-CLEAN-SLATEEDINBURG — In the ongoing attempt to collect on fines and fees due to Hidalgo County, leaders said they were moving one step closer to finally collecting by developing a new initiative that would allow individuals to pay their overdue fees using the Internet.

On Tuesday at Hidalgo County Commissioners’ Court, officials unanimously approved the creation of “Operation Clean Slate,” a three-phase initiative that could help the county collect on millions of dollars.

“It’s an exciting time to see something moving forward,” said Precinct 4 Commissioner Joseph Palacios.

In the Justices of the Peace department, the county is owed over $40 million, administrators said this week. Previously, officials said the county is owed around $70 million in total, but the JPs offices are owed the biggest amount.

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