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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.


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.


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.”



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.


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.


‘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.


Shoot-out, cook-off slated as ‘Alligator Round-Up’ returns to Resaca City

The San Benito Chamber of Commerce will host the Rio Grande Valley Sportsman’s Expo on Aug. 20 in San Benito.  The events consist of the Centennial Skeet Shoot-Out/Cook-Off/Alligator Gar Round-Up and Market Day at the San Benito Fairgrounds on FM 510.

Pre-registration for the event can be made by emailing or calling Zeke Padilla at 399-5321. On-site registration begins at 8 a.m. the day of the event. The first shot will be fired at 8:45 a.m. and no teams will be allowed after 10 a.m.


TEA names La Joya ISD recognized district

20110805_IMG_0648_PRLA JOYA – The last time La Joya Independent School District (LJISD) received a recognized status from the Texas Education Agency (TEA) for their test scores was in 2001. After 10 years, the district has finally received what they have been trying so hard to achieve – a recognized status for the district.

Last year, one elementary received an “unacceptable” rating from TEA, six elementaries received “exemplary” status, and Palmview High School, six middle schools and 11 elementaries received “recognized” status.

This year, the College Transition Academy was the only La Joya school to receive an exemplary status. Eighteen campuses again received a recognized status and 16 were labeled as academically acceptable, compared to just seven campuses rated “acceptable” last year.


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