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Peñitas supports Laura Avendaño for LJISD School Board

At the June 1 meeting, members of the City of Peñitas Council voted in favor of Resolution 2016-16, supporting Laura Avendaño in her quest to complete the unfinished term of her late husband on the La Joya Independent School District Board of Trustees.

Her late husband, Jesus (Chuy) Avendaño, died March 29, leaving his position vacant. His term will expire in November of 2016.

City of Penitas logoAvendaño told the Progress Times she was approached by members of the community and was encouraged to seek the position so that she could complete his term and carry forward on the items that concerned the community.

“I believe it is important that each community in La Joya (ISD) be equally represented,” Avendaño said.

She said currently there are two board members from each of the four communities that make up the district. They include Peñitas, Sullivan City, La Joya and Palmview.

Avendaño is a chaplain in Peñitas. She worked closely with her husband in many ways to help the people of Peñitas and across the border in Mexico. She is well known in the community as a person who works to meet the needs of the people. She hopes the La Joya ISD board will appoint her to his unexpired term on the board, but regardless of whether they do or not, she will run for his position in November.

Peñitas Police

In other action, two Peñitas police officers were congratulated on completing their Field Training Officer Certification. Oscar Barron has been with the Peñitas Police for 10 years while Officer Elizabeth Garza has been with Peñitas for three years.

Police Chief Roel Bermea told the Progress Times the training is very important because it gives the two officers the skills needed to do field training of new officers hired by the city along with those already on duty.

“We can always use more officers,” Bermea said.

As funding allows and a new census count shows growth, the Peñitas Police force will continue to grow. The unofficial census has Peñitas’ population at 7,400, but according to Bermea, many believe it may already be much higher.

“Having officers on board who are trained to train new officers … for field work is important,” Bermea explained.

Bermea also offered praise for the work of the Department of Transportation officers who are sent from other parts of Texas to help patrol the border. Since Peñitas is located close to the river, these officers assist with the workload of patrolling along the river, allowing Peñitas officers more time to patrol neighborhoods and keep crime to a minimum.

In other action, the Peñitas Police Department was given permission to purchase two new police units using funds from the Crime Control and Prevention District and the Drug Forfeiture accounts.

Bermea said Ford Explorers would replace the current Chevy Tahoes as they could handle the rugged work with fewer maintenance issues and tire replacements. They are also more efficient on gasoline usage. One unit would be assigned to the SWAT team while the other would go out on patrol.


Yenni Espinoza, director of the Peñitas Public Library announced the two-session summer reading program for school children is already underway. There had been over 2,000 library visits related to the program. Registration for the program began May 31 and will run through June 4. The second session runs from June 27 to July 2. Programs being offered this summer include reading, crafts, nutrition classes, Summer Olympics and the Adult Coloring Club. The children’s programs run from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

La Joya ISD will provide a nutrition program between June 6 and July 29. The program will offer free breakfast and lunch to all students participating in the program. For more information call (956) 583-5656. The library is located at 1111 S. Main Street in Peñitas.

Annexation Planned

Following executive session, city staff was authorized to work on annexation of land in Peñitas’ extraterritorial jurisdiction. No announcement was made of what land was under consideration for annexation.

The Wenholz Law Firm of Austin was approved to handle the case with ACT Pipe & Supply, Inc. and L&G Concrete Construction, Inc. and Liberty Mutual Insurance versus the City of Peñitas. The agreement signed was based on substantial need and the fact the city cannot afford to pay attorneys with the level of expertise needed to resolve the issue.

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