The son of a former city of McAllen mayor announced he will attempt to follow in his father’s footsteps and campaign for the position during the upcoming May 2017 election. Othal E. Brand Jr. announced his candidacy Nov. 23 during a 10 minute press conference at his office in North McAllen. His father, Othal E. Brand Sr., served as McAllen’s mayor for 20 years starting in 1977. He died of congestive heart failure in 2009 at the age of 90.
“Our family has invested so much into the city, just as much as the city has blessed us for being here,” Brand said at the news conference. “They say there’s honor in a good name. I believe my father left me and McAllen a good one and I hope to do the same.”
Brand is the board president and general manager of Hidalgo County Water Improvement District 3. He is the first person to announce his candidacy for McAllen’s mayor. Before becoming mayor of McAllen, the senior Brand turned his company, Griffin & Brand, into one of the world’s largest producers of onions and vegetables and one of the largest fruit and vegetable growers in the state, according to the produce industry news website, “The Packer.”
On Election Day about a thousand students from the Mission Consolidated Independent School District were bussed to Palm Valley Church’s main auditorium to be inspired to study science, technology, engineering and math.
The featured speaker was Phoenix area high school teacher Faridodin “Fredi” Lajvardi. In 2004 Lajvardi took four students from Carl Hayden Community High School to compete in an underwater robotics competition and defeated teams from three other high schools, four community colleges, two public universities, and the Massachusetts’s School of Technology. According to Wired magazine three of his students had entered the U.S. illegally as children from Mexico.
In 2015 the Hollywood movie, “Spare Parts,” about the event premiered with actor and comedian George Lopez playing Lajvardi in a script mostly based on actual events. Speaking to an audience comprised of elementary, middle and high school students - all taking science, technology, engineering and math courses (STEM curriculum) - Lajvardi told the students screen writers took artistic liberties with the story.
The electricity could be felt around the state of Texas as the high school playoffs began last Friday with every team left standing locked in on the win or go home situation.
Four “Big 7” playoff teams put it on the line Friday night as the Pioneer Diamondbacks and Sharyland Rattlers represented District 31-5A and the Palmview Lobos and Juarez-Lincoln Huskies representing District 30-6A in the first round of postseason play. (See separate story for Mission Veterans Memorial High School.)
The Pioneer Diamondbacks and head coach Jason Wheeler made history for their third year program in 2016. The Diamondbacks brought home their first district championship to Pioneer High School, as they finished with a 7-1 league record, splitting the title with the Laredo Nixon Mustangs. The district title guaranteed the Diamondbacks a spot in the state playoffs, the first time Wheeler’s squad would be playing in the postseason.
Ten-year-old Gabriel Sandoval found himself shocked that he was playing the popular videogame “Minecraft” on a desktop connected to a computer the size of a credit card.
Sandoval was one of the attendees of Sharyland’s 7th Annual Technology Fair Thursday, Nov. 10, where the district was showcasing technology available to students. The fifth grader at Donna Wernecke Elementary School was at a presentation hosted by Daniel Silva and Hector Garza, founders of the Mission organization Code the Town. The duo were presenting a “Raspberry Pi,” a small computer used to teach basic computer science.
Despite some initial confusion, Sandoval said he got a kick out of the small, technological marvel.