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Joy turned to grief marked Nov. 22, 1963

20131122 MHS-and-JFK-PT-YBaNovember 22, 1963, began as a day of great excitement for the students and staff of Mission High School, as well as the entire city. After months of planning, groundbreaking was taking place for construction of the highly anticipated new high school.

It was a particularly memorable day for the MHS Class of 1964-65 because they would be the first to graduate from the new campus. Class President William Valverde was to represent the future graduates at the ceremony by symbolically shoveling some of the dirt.

Aside from the excitement of the groundbreaking, a Friday night football game was scheduled in Robstown. Football players, band members, the cheering squad, students and fans were looking forward to an out-of-town trip to watch the Eagles play.

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La Joya area gets ‘Helping Hand’

20131116 LDS-house-project JS 3706 featureLA JOYA—Living on dirt floors, taking cold showers while exposed to the elements, tripping over extension cords carrying electricity into small, ramshackle homes—many children in the rural areas of La Joya have more to worry about each day than solving equations or spelling college-level words.

Erika Salinas, Juarez-Lincoln High School social worker, said there are always new colonias popping up in the surrounding area, and because it’s rural, there’s no code enforcement. That means people can set up cardboard rooms or tents if they wish, Salinas said.

“It makes it real hard for our kids because they don’t have enough food or they’re bathing outside,” Salinas said.

Many students start thinking about dropping out of school as they get older because they want to get jobs to help their families.

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Junior’s Supermarket opens to hundreds of customers

20131113 Alton-Juniors-Supermarket-Ribbon-Cutting AF  3526 featureALTON—Alton Mayor Salvador Vela and musician Ramon Ayala joined the hundreds of Alton citizens early Wednesday for the grand opening of Junior’s Supermarket.

Felix Chavez Jr., owner of Junior’s Supermarkets, welcomed shoppers by saying, “Bienvenidos a su tienda (welcome to your store).”

The new Junior’s Supermarket sits at the corner of Alton Boulevard and Main Avenue and will create approximately 100 jobs for the area. In Spanish, Ayala said the new supermarket is not only beautiful but it’s largest site of the entire chain.

The store includes: an 84-foot meat counter touted as the largest in the Valley, bakery department, tortilla department, a 16-foot fish department and an indoor BBQ grill.

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Millions at stake in La Joya ISD health insurance suits

LA-JOYA-LOGOLa Joya ISD leaders believe they've missed out on millions of dollars in savings promised by their insurance company. At the same time, La Joya Independent School District's former insurance broker, Ruth Villarreal, believes the district owes her more than $2 million after terminating her contract in January.

The tangled controversy surrounding the district's employee health insurance is being played out in two different district courts. It all started in February when Villarreal filed a lawsuit in the 92nd District Court alleging La Joya ISD breached its contract when the school board voted to terminate her as its broker in January.

Attorneys for the school district fired back, filing a motion to dismiss because the court lacked jurisdiction and stating the district's contract is with HealthSmart Benefit Solutions. Villarreal as the insurance broker is merely a third party and was not a signatory on the contract, states Miguel Saldaña, district attorney.

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Mission PD names assistant police chief

City-of-Mission-logoMission Police Chief Roberto Dominguez announced in the Tuesday meeting of the Mission City Council he had appointed Lt. Joel Larralde as assistant police chief for administrative matters.

As such, Larralde will be in charge of agenda items, city ordinances, city council reports, public meetings, the records division, the jail administration, dispatch and communications as his primary duties. He will also handle grants like BorderStar and Stonegarden that require a lot of paperwork.

Larralde has been with the Mission Police Department 27 years. He was a patrolman for several years as a corporal. In 2000, he was promoted to sergeant and in 2009 be became a lieutenant.

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Cancer pulls Mission families together

20131115 Teen-Aids-With-Cancer-PatientsColette Walsh teared up when she talked about her 16-year-old daughter, Sarah, one of her best caregivers when she was diagnosed with cancer in 2011.

"I'm a little bit crazy about her," Colette said, wrapping an arm around Sarah's shoulder. “She has a good heart and a kind soul, and she's thoughtful and determined. And she just makes us proud every day."

For her part, Sarah doesn't show a lot of emotion. She's a private person who prefers to think things through before reacting to them. But when she learned last year that Ben Karam, a third-grader and friend of her little brother, had lymphoma, Sarah acted. Karam was receiving treatments through Vannie Cook Children’s Clinic, and the teen wanted to do something to show her family's support. She petitioned her classmates at school and friends of the family to donate books for the clinic.

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Coyotes say goodbye to No. 1 fan

20131011 Football JuarezLincoln vs LaJoya lg-56 featureLA JOYA—More than 100 football players, cheerleaders and school district staff lined the entrance to Coyote Stadium as a hearse backed through the gate. One football player carried flowers, another a signed helmet and another held a football signed by the team.

They all wore La Joya High red.

The back of the hearse was opened to reveal a casket and the family gathered around. “Que Salgan Los Coyotes” and the La Joya High School fight song played throughout the stadium as sobs filled the pauses. When the music ended, the football team gathered in a huddle, arms stretched out as they chanted in honor of “Betito.” They returned to their line and the hearse pulled away as everyone lifted their hands into the air—pinky and pointer finger held up, thumb touching the middle and ring finger— to form the Coyote hand signal in one final goodbye.

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War vet remembers U.S. Army as heroes, saving his life during WWII

20131105 Schaefer-vet AF  3063MISSION— Having grown up in war-torn Germany, Henry C. Schaefer recognizes members of the U.S. military as heroes who rescued him and his family from a time of death and destruction.

He was inspired to follow in their footsteps, and years later was honored himself to serve the U.S. in the Korean War. Schaefer, born in 1933, said he couldn’t begin to describe the torture he saw while growing up in Adolf Hitler’s Germany.

For a man who has experienced war twice over, time has healed his wounds. He speaks with a joyful presence, understanding his luck has brought him to the United States, a country he loved before he ever stepped on its soil.

Schaefer’s parents hailed from a Bavarian town called Elfershausen, but raised him in Offenbach am Main, Germany. He and his family feared for their lives every day during World War II, and he said his father was horrified by the slayings of innocent people he would see on his bike rides home from work.

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CoverageAreaThe Progress Times is the hometown newspaper for the local communities of Mission, Sharyland, Alton, Palmview, La Joya and surrounding areas in Western Hidalgo County. We have a staff of veteran reporters who work diligently every week to bring our readers the latest news as it affects their hometown area and people.

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