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2012 PT Staff Photos FeatureToday marks the 40th anniversary of the first edition of the Progress Times. The first issue was published Aug. 24, 1972 when a group of local businessmen founded the weekly newspaper to serve Mission and the surrounding areas. It is now owned by Jim Brunson who is the publisher and editor.

News content is dedicated to local coverage of city and school government, school sports and social, church and community events. Reporters regularly attend school board meetings for Mission CISD, Sharyland ISD and La Joya ISD, as well as city council meetings for Mission and neighboring cities.

Originally named the Upper Valley Progress, the newspaper name was changed to Progress-Times in 1983 under the leadership of then-publisher June Brann. At the time of the change, Brann said, “As the Mission Times had been published for over 50 years, many people continued to refer to the newspaper as ‘The Times’ so it was decided to incorporate both names in the title.”

Brann, who had worked for the Mission Times in the 1960s, and later for the Weslaco News, Associated Press and Houston Chronicle, as well as KRIO and KURV radio, and KRGV TV, entered a partnership with the owners of the Upper Valley Progress in 1978. She bought their stock in 1981, including the parent company, Mission Publishing Company. She also brought in her son-in-law Jim Brunson as advertising manager that year.

Brunson, then general manager and part-owner of the Progress Times and the Winter Texan Times, purchased all the stock in both newspapers from Brann in 2003. In 1987, Brann and Brunson co-founded the Winter Texan Times newspaper, a Valley-wide publication serving the needs for their unique lifestyle. The Valley-wide Winter Texan publication has become the leading publication of its kind in the region.

Melinda Brunson, wife of Jim Brunson and daughter of June Brann, has served as community and lifestyles news editor since 1981. She has also worked in various roles in advertising sales, as bookkeeper and as circulation manager—when needed.

Today, Dan Brunson and Lindslee Brunson, son and daughter of Jim and Melinda, serve as general manager and advertising manager, respectively. Having previously worked for the newspapers in production and advertising, and after extensive experience in sales and management with other firms, Dan was hired as general manager of the Progress Times in 2008.

Carina Brunson, Dan’s wife, has worked with the paper off and on since 1996. Previously working in production and bookkeeping, she was hired as a full-time reporter in 2010 after obtaining her bachelor’s degree in communications.

Kathy Olivarez has been a contributing writer and reporter for the Progress Times since the early 1970s. Doug Young is lead photographer, and Luciano Guerra has recently joined as a sportswriter, reporter and photographer.

Full-time staff members include Sean Downey, graphic designer and webmaster; Sharon Sanchez, bookkeeper and circulation manager; and Maribel Steward, receptionist.

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