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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.

Read more: Culinary business incubator planned for Alton


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.

Read more: City seeks higher interest on investments


‘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.”

Read more: ‘This place is off-limits’



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.”



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.

Read more: Mission approves fire department first responder status


Hidalgo, Willacy discuss Raymondville Drain

20110624_Map-Raymondville-DrainWillacy Co. leaders say they will reinstate support

EDINBURG —Leaders from Hidalgo and Willacy counties met this week to discuss the Raymondville Drain Project, a development that some officials say has been stalled by about a month after Willacy County voted to rescind its support on the effort.

At a workshop held on Monday, Willacy County Judge John F. Gonzales Jr. said the new administration had questions about previous actions on the project that weren’t answered and ultimately decided to withdraw their support to avoid hurting the county in future funding.

“The old information could not be found,” he said of letters from 2001 and a resolution in 2008 between both counties and the U.S. Corps of Engineers, who have been charged with helping in the development. “Not knowing what was in that letter…we had to rescind the 2008 agreement so we know what we’re agreeing to.”

Read more: Hidalgo, Willacy discuss Raymondville Drain


MEDC to join city on suit against MEDA

20110617-city-of-mission-bldgMISSION — Members of the Mission Economic Development Corporation (MEDC) met Tuesday where they voted to join the city’s lawsuit against the Mission Economic Development Authority (MEDA).

MEDA leaders said the group would join the suit as a plaintiff. They hired R. Gaines Griffin of Davidson and Troilo of San Antonio as counsel for the action.

City attorney David Guerra said the MEDC has claims against MEDA just as the city does. No further elaboration on what the complaints were was given.

At their meeting this week, MEDC members also discussed next year’s budget and funding projects under the 2011-12 fiscal budget.

Read more: MEDC to join city on suit against MEDA


LJISD gets approval for early college HS

LA-JOYA-LOGOLA JOYA — The La Joya Independent School District’s Jimmy Carter College Transition Academy received a provisional approval by the Texas Education Agency (TEA) to be an Early College High School (ECHS).

Last year, the district had 105 freshmen begin their dual enrollment classes at Jimmy Carter. This coming school year, Jimmy Carter ECHS will enroll 120 ninth-graders; administrators said over 200 students applied.

The program is similar to dual enrollment, where a student can earn high school and college credit at the same time, but it will be a four-year program instead of two. Upon graduation, those attending the ECHS will have earned their high school diploma and an associate’s degree or up to two years of credit toward a bachelor’s degree.

Read more: LJISD gets approval for early college HS


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