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Mission considers banning RVs in driveways

20110715-RVMISSION — A proposal that would ban parked recreational vehicles in front yard driveways was sent back to the Planning and Zoning Commission at Monday’s Mission City Council meeting.

The ordinance stated RVs could only be parked alongside public or private streets for temporary loading or unloading and must be completed within 48 hours.

The ordinance is currently limited to R-1, or large lot, residential areas.

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Police ID suspects in retired agent’s death

20110714_Tarbutton-Arista-Arraignment_Kimmon-Murder_CAB_0026MISSION — Mission police have arrested and charged two suspects in connection with the death of Willis Kimmons.

David Tarbutton Jr., 19 and Leroy Arista, 23, were charged with capital murder. Their bonds were set at $5 million each.

Peggy Arista, Leroy’s mother, was also arrested and charged with tampering with evidence.

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'Free Lunch' program gets new requirements

20110708_MCISD_SchoolFoodProgram_CavazosElem_JMB_0012MISSION — In December 2010, President Barack Obama signed into law the Healthy, Hunger-Free Act, legislation that provides school children with healthier food options for breakfast and lunch. The act is also supposed to help combat childhood obesity.

Since 2004, Texas has been helping schools provide students with healthier foods. Many Rio Grande Valley school districts, such as Mission, have been preparing for the healthier menu changes that will be mandated by the 2012-2013 school year.

Laura Villarreal, coordinator for the child nutrition program at Region One, said having many Valley schools gradually implement the proposed mandates has been positive for the region.

“We want to make sure the kids and schools get a taste of it now, because soon there won’t be an option,” she said. “In order to continue receiving federal funding we have to follow it 100 percent.”

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Culinary business incubator planned for Alton

Alton_LOGOALTON — The city is set to embark on a new program that could help low-income individuals learn to work in the food industry and manage small businesses while helping produce local jobs.

Brought to the city for consideration just two weeks ago, Alton is ready to fully support the idea.

The culinary business incubator (CBI), a relatively new concept, is being modeled after a similar project started last year in San Antonio called “Bake, Broil and Brew.” If approved, Alton’s Culinary Business Incubator would be the first of its kind in the Rio Grande Valley.

Alton Assistant City Manager Steve Peña said the city is working with the University of Texas-Pan American (UTPA), the City of Alton Development Corporation (CADC), the Rio Grande Valley Empowerment Zone (RGVEZ) and Texas A&M on the project, which would teach people how to bake goods for sale, do catering and teach healthy cooking techniques. It would also teach them the bookkeeping skills they need to run a small business.

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City seeks higher interest on investments

20110617-city-of-mission-bldgMISSION — Because the City of Mission’s funds that are currently invested in CD’s with TEXPOOL and in money market accounts are currently giving low interest rates, the Mission City Council voted in the June 27 meeting to make changes.

In March, the city asked for information from banks and security companies that might have higher yields.

Finance Director Janie Flores said the city needs to meet necessary cash flow needs, increase earnings on its investments and ensure that all funds are secured. Flores said at least three qualified broker/dealers would be maintained to assure competitive bidding.

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‘This place is off-limits’

20110624_BorderPatrol_MissionPD_CAB_0076Law enforcement unites for Madero

MISSION — The U.S. Border Patrol and Mission Police Department started a community partnership in Madero last week to encourage community safety.

“Border security is currently one of the greatest concerns,” said Mission Deputy City Manager Aida Lerma. “This is why we’re here today, to tell everyone that we are taking a stand to protect our borders, but more importantly, to protect our citizens.”

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20110701_Breakdown_Pie-ChartUnpaid fines at JP-level runs over $44 million

EDINBURG — Still looking for new and effective ways to collect money owed to Hidalgo County, elected officials met last week to identify ways to successfully recover the over $44 million owed in outstanding fines in one department.

Hidalgo County Judge Ramon Garcia said the county has different categories of owed money – over $70 million – but the Justices of the Peace are owed the biggest chunk of cash.

“(There’s a) fiduciary responsibility we as elected officials should have to make sure the county collect all the revenue its entitled to collect. That’s part of our job,” Garcia said. “The money is badly needed by the county. We’re about to begin our budget and we’re looking at all these cuts, and at the same time, we’ve got this revenue source.”

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Mission approves fire department first responder status

20110701_MissionFireDepartmentMISSION — The Mission Fire Department is moving in a new direction. Mission Fire Chief Ricardo Saldaña secured approval from the city council Monday for the department to become a registered first responder with the Texas Department of State Health Services.

According to Saldaña, although the fire department is already responding to about half the medical emergency calls coming in to the city 9-1-1 call center, they will now respond to almost every medical emergency call. The fire department will not be replacing the ambulance services presently being provided by Med-Care, the city’s EMS provider. The department’s role will be to respond to the emergency calls and provide treatment to the patient until the EMS provider arrives.

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